Olympics? Sportsmanship? Right here.
This much is irrefutable: How you direct your gaze, where you place your energy and your conviction, how you tune your perception and with what integrity and attitude you offer yourself to the world means, well, everything. Why can’t this basic truth be broadened out to humanity as a whole?…
Maybe that’s a little much. Maybe it’s better to test it all out yourself, every day, on micro scale, to feel into what you really believe, what you know to be true at core level, versus what you’ve been fed, and by whom, and for what spurious purpose…
Who the hell told you you’re broken? Who told you you’re an addict, a loser, a Type-A, a manic depressive? Who said you’re too weak to quit smoking, to start exercising, to eat better, to find love or to quit being an overbearing jerk with zero redeeming qualities? Who told you humanity must operate a certain way? Who told you you’re full of trauma and rage? Who dared tell you you’re not already God? You really believe that? Good lord, why?
~ Mark Morford, Believe this and live forever
Source: themetapicture (From the Movie: A Few Good Men)
20 cancer patients participated in a unique makeover experience. They were invited to a studio. Their hair and makeup were completely redone. Here’s the outcome.
Žydrūnas Savickas, 38, is a Lithuanian powerlifter and professional strongman. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest strongman competitors of all time. He is the only modern strongman competitor to have won every major strongman competition, most notably the World’s Strongest Man in 2009, 2010, & 2012. He is 6 ft 3 in tall and competes at 385 lb. Savickas is often referred to by his nickname, “Big Z”. (Source: Wiki)
This month, Savickas broke the Guinness world record for the most cars pulled by one man when he hauled 12 Nissan Cars (28,530 pounds) for five meters in Druskininkai, Lithuania. See video here.
What is your diet like during heavy training?
I eat about 6,000 calories a day, plus I drink four or five litres of water and three protein shakes with milk or water. I eat four times a day, mainly cottage cheese, eggs, chicken, beef, fish, rice, potatoes, vegetables and fruit juices. My favourite food is Steak and Potatoes. I monitor my body weight. If I just need power for a competition then I eat fried food. But if I also need speed or endurance, such as in the World’s Strongest Man competition, I eat more healthily. I’m very careful with alcohol: I have a glass of white wine perhaps two or three times a year. (Source: Men’s Fitness)
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
Neil Hilborn, a poet with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), performs at the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin.
“The first time I saw her everything in my head went quiet. All the tics, all the constantly refreshing images just disappeared. When you have obsessive compulsive disorder you don’t really get quiet moments… When I saw her, the only thing I could think about was hairpin curve of her lips or the eyelash on her cheek, eyelash on her cheek, eyelash on her cheek.”
The tortured soul lives alone.
90-year Ed Bray served in WW II and served in Normandy.
He’s covered this up for 80 years.
Join me in being inspired by Mr. Bray. I was moved…
Deep in the belly of these vermillion walls
Our minds open to adventure and experience.
We squint to the back of our lenses
And down to the tips of our fly lines
Crossing paths and coming together to tell a story.
This place is home to the blood of this land.
An emerald green water full of life, and full of hope.
She’s had a long journey.
Thousands of miles she’s travelled.
Veining her way through rock and crevice.
Rugged and raw to bless us with her fertile waters.
A place painted by Gods and carved by time.
A mighty river and a mighty canyon in the land of the Navajo.
Her currents meander over stone and sand
In a rhythm uniquely her own
Her color unlike anything else
Her glimmer, mesmerizing.
She has a heartbeat.
She dances with the winds and the grass.
She dances with life and we’ve come for what’s beneath it all.
In this box of trickery,
a shimmer of gold.
A subtle twist of thread and wire.
The trout we seek are strong and smart.
A worthy test of our skills.
Our tactics and presentations must be perfect.
The throw of our line must gently lay on the waters’ currents.
This is what we’ve come for, and what we live for.
Our search for the perfect riffle.
The rise of a hungry trout.
Friendships and memories.
This is an unforgettable place,
Where the earth and the heavens come together.
There is life, warmth and beauty everywhere up here.
360 degrees of pure magic.
Around every turn our lens capture the light and the dark of it all.
A Father and Son.
A lone fisherman.
The love for nature and art.
And blurring the lines in between.
We now see life, light and shadow
in a different way than we did before.
And we walk away
without leaving a trace of our modern trappings.
While this gold piece of the natural world
has left an indelible mark
on our all of spirits.
“At five, I had the intuitive, instinctive faith that my cosmos, my family and the world were good and true and beautiful. That somehow I had always been and always would be. And I knew in a way of a five-year-old that I had worth and dignity and individuality. Later, when I read Nietzsche’s statement that these are not given to us by nature but are tasks that we must somehow solve, I knew him to be wrong. We all had them once.”
~ George Sheehan, Running & Being
- Related Posts: George Sheehan bio and quote - Uneasiness. Inquietude. There is work to be done.
- Image Source. Thank you Mme Scherzo
I peek at the weather app before I step outside.
“34° F. Feels like 26° F. Partly Cloudy.”
Winter closing in.
I yank my Tuque over my ears.
I glance at the mirror.
The Black Avenger: Back for an encore.
Black Tuque. Black jacket. Black pants.
And Red Shoes.
I cue up my David Gray playlist.
Open the door.
And head to the street.
How often does it happen?
Just the right song cycles up.
65 David Gray songs resting.
Waiting for their turn.
And it pops up.
A bubbling geyser.
It starts slowly.
Starting from way down deep.
And surging upward.
No chemical inducements.
↓ click for audio (David Gray: “Everytime”)
Down from the doorway
And into the street
I hear the morning bell
Over and over the pattern repeat
I hear the morning bell
And all the faces cold as stone
In the January chill…
~ David Gray, Everytime [Read more...]
Susan @ Licht Years kicks us off with her pumpkin photograph above. Check out more inspiring shots of Autumn in a post she has titled Orange Crush.
MJ @ emjayandthem with her post titled Beautiful People: “Traveling this week for business, I found myself tossed into a sea of humanity. Rolling suitcases. iPhones & ear buds. Cell conversations continuing as doors are closed. Electricity charging areas in airport waiting rooms. Subtle manners not consistently displayed. Standing in line, I noticed something consistent in every airport I waited: no one looked at each other, everyone looked down …thumbs moving. All this technology connects us yet people seem more isolated than ever. ~sigh~ And then there she was…” Read more at this link. And if you liked this post, don’t miss MJ’s post titled “Like That.“
Bonnie @ Pagekeeper with her post titled: You listen, is what you do: “What do you do, when you meet someone and walk away from the conversation and a little voice inside says, ‘we need to help her’? You listen, is what you do. And you talk about it with someone who is willing to listen to you. Listen to you share your feeling of being moved by another human being and their misfortune, difficulty, hardship, heartbreak. You risk feeling vulnerable about caring so much. You push past the feelings of uncertainty. And, you listen to those who encourage you to not lose the moment, to not let it pass. And then, you do something about it. Get busy. Make something happen.” Read the full, moving story here.
Sheri @ The Other Side of Ugly with her post titled The Way You Love: “You continually focus on living comfortably, being preoccupied with your daily routines in life because they give the appearance and often the sensation of fullness…In so doing you regularly forget to focus on the “what” you are LIVING for. Work? Money? Possessions? I think not. Wait I actually know not.” Read more here. [Read more...]
It’s arrived. My two-year blogging anniversary. On my run this morning, I decided to queue up FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that have been posed to me. Here we go:
Q: WHERE do you find your content?
A: Three sources, listed in order of contribution. (1) I read. (A lot). (2) Susan (spouse). (3) 3F’s: Followers, Friends and Family.
Q: How do you decide WHAT to post?
A: Todd Lohenry recommended Evernote. (I recommend Evernote.) I let content marinate. If it still moves me a few days or weeks later, up it goes.
Q: Do you think you post too frequently?
A: I do think about this. Mostly from the seat of the follower/reader. Then I revert to the purpose of this blog. If it moves ME, it goes up.
Q: What has most surprised you about Followers?
A: The blogging community. Period. And, that so many in the Community take time to comment and share their insights and inspirations. I look forward to many of you tuning in each morning. When you don’t, I find I miss it. You are ENABLERS. Shame on you.
see what has never been seen;
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
: Chemical – a liquid that burns easily, that is used to turn solid substances into liquid, and that was used in medicine in the past to prevent patients from feeling pain during operations
: Literary - the clear sky; the upper regions of air beyond the clouds.
the ether : the air : the sky
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) was born in Rockland, Maine, attended Vassar College, and upon graduation moved to Greenwich Village. Millay was born to Cora Lounella, a nurse, and Henry Tollman Millay, a schoolteacher who would later become a superintendent of schools. Her middle name derives from St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, where her uncle’s life had been saved just before her birth. The family’s house was “between the mountains and the sea where baskets of apples and drying herbs on the porch mingled their scents with those of the neighboring pine woods.” In 1923, when Millay was 31 years old, she published The Harp Weaver and Other Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize. Millay’s brilliant achievements in strict form place her in the first ranks of 20th-century American poets and today, when many of the high modernists are studied only in university classrooms, Millay’s poetry remains widely read and admired by a literate general audience. (Source: San Diego Reader and Wiki)
Hold a magnifying glass to this relentless, unsympathetic city.
And we find ourselves, lonely, but never alone.
We make our way.
We choose our paths.
We decide who we are.
Pulled and pushed in the silence of our thoughts.
While on side streets named for those forgotten.
Preoccupied with universal struggles that seem so unique.
We ask the questions that aren’t always answered.
Who am I?
Who will I be?
What have I become?
We arrive, and the innocence is bliss, but fleeting,
As we learn the truths of being human.
We are the loved, and the unloved.
The wanted, and the forlorn.
And in those moments between the light and the darkness
We find ourselves, lonely, but never alone.
~ Paul Riccio & Molly Finley
Credits: Thank you Swissmiss
“Is this magic? A miracle? No, it’s common as dirt.
It’s how creativity works. We show up. We do our best. Good things happen.
This is the intersection of Hard Work and Inspiration.
When we say “Put your ass where your heart wants to be,” this is what we mean.
This is what being a pro is all about. It’s why we practice self-discipline, self-validation, self-reinforcement…
We master all of those disciplines for one reason: so that we can be sitting there in the sweet spot when the Muse’s rocket ship passes by. That’s how the two sides work together. Hard work and inspiration.
Diligence produces inspiration because it shows respect to the goddess.
Genius and brilliance do not earn her favor. She prefers sweat. Get your butt in to the studio. Sit down at the piano. Boot up your iMac.
See yourself as the Muse sees you. You’ll know what to do.”
~ Stephen Pressfield, “You, as the Muse Sees You“
Image Credit: Patrick Wilbanks
“Meet Jack English, a 93-year-old legend who lives in a cabin isolated deep in the Ventana Wilderness, located in the Santa Lucia Mountains along the Central Coast of California. While on a hunting trip he learned that an old homestead in the Ventana Wilderness was being put up for auction by the estate of a childless heiress. He put a bid on the property and won. On the land he built a small cabin using materials from the land and milling trees by hand. When his wife passed away, Jack effectively left “society” and moved to the cabin full time.”
More on Jack English @ The Santa Barbara Independent: Jack
Good Sunday Morning
“You want to know the meaning of life? This is your highest calling: You are called into the dynamic co-creation of the cosmos. This breath is your canvas and your brush. These are the raw materials for your art, for the life you are making. Nothing is off limits. Your backyard, your piano, your paint brush, your conversation, Rwanda, New Orleans, Iraq, your marriage, your soul. You’re making a living with every step you take. So when you make a living, do not merely make money. Why settle for cash when joy is on the line? You feel a thrill when you dance, when you sing, when you finish your poem; even when you sweep the room you see order pressing back against the chaos. So when you create, never settle for making a living — at least not the way that the world might define that phrase. When you make a living, you are speaking a new world into existence. You are creating grace within the confines, you are co-signing God’s blank checks.”
~ Jon Foreman, Lead Singer & Guitarist of Switchfoot. Excerpt from Meaning of Life.
Eunice @ My Portfolio – Taken With My Eyes Wide Open with her spectacular shot (above) which she has titled: White Mountain Hotel As Autumn Arrives. (White Mountain Hotel is in New Hampshire.) Check out Eunice’s other amazing shots here.
Lauren @ Thanky with her post titled Aware: “I saw an owl tonight, and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time. The faintest bit of light remained in the sky, and in a matter of minutes the trees would be silhouetted against a dark night. But I could clearly see the treetops, and something was circling overhead. With a graceful spiral motion, it landed gently on a branch up high...” Read more here. Lauren writes about something she is thankful for each day. Be sure to check out her blog.
Carol @ Radiating Blossom with her share of a poem by Jane Hirschfield titled When Your Life Looks Back:
When your life looks back—
as it will, at itself, at you—what will it say?
Inch of colored ribbon cut from the spool.
Flame curl, blue-consuming the log it flares from.
Bay leaf. Oak leaf. Cricket. One among many.
Your life will carry you as it did always,
with ten fingers and both palms,
with horizontal ribs and upright spine,
with its filling and emptying heart,
that wanted only your own heart, emptying, filled, in return.
You gave it. What else could you do?
I’m on the 5:01 a.m. train to Grand Central.
I’m riffling through two days of morning papers. Without breaking stride, I shift to chopping through a small mountain of emails. I pause. I can feel my pulse accelerating. Work mode. Game time and it’s only 5:45 am.
The train moves through the tunnel. Internet connection is lost. I close my eyes for a moment looking for a few minutes of rest. But it’s not rest I find, it’s restless.
I shift to Kindle.
Elise sent me a link to a book over the weekend. I’m a few pages in. My mind drifts. I worked with her, could it be 9 years ago? Where does the time go?
Describe her in 5 words: Centered. Gentle. Peaceful. Kind. Goodness.
I get off the train. I’m walking briskly down 42th street. City is alive at 6 am. I cross Park. Madison. Fifth. Avenue of the Americas. Times Square. ABC’s Good Morning America is setting up outside on Broadway and 44th street…crowd milling.
I let her down. I remember the look in her eyes. I couldn’t have been more than a three minute conversation 9 years ago, and it’s a piercing tattoo etched in my mind. Thoughtless, wrong, self-serving.
“Who are you to do something like this? What makes you think you can make a difference? What makes you think you can succeed? I was diagnosed with polio as a young boy. When I came out of the doctor’s office, my life was going to be very different. And even as such a young age, somewhere deep in there, I remember thinking, I refuse to let this define me.
Mongolia evokes the kind of emotion that I would read in an adventure book as a child. The place that was always winter and never Christmas. Ulan Bator is the coldest city in the world. There is a big problem. Thousands of children that have been abandoned, many of them living on the streets. Without the help of the orphanages, how many of them would be dead? They’re overflowing, I have to do something. I’m not wealthy. I’m not famous. And I started to think about what I could do.
I have to do something. What came up, was, running. I’m going to run 1,500 miles across Mongolia to raise awareness and support for orphans and vulnerable children.
My Dad left when I was 2 years old. Nobody should ever be abandoned. I would deny part of who I am if I didn’t at least try.
I want you see these children and spark a hope that you can make a difference.”
~ Brian Hunter. Donate to the cause here.
SMWI*: Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
It’s my third email of the day.
A member on the team is getting accolades.
I flashback to a conversation with his manager three years ago.
“He’s rough. Not sure he has it. Big Risk.“
“There’s talent there. Trust me.”
I send him a note: “I’m proud we’re on the same team.”
Seconds later my email is flashing with his reply.
“You made my day.”
I push my chair back.
And turn my back to my desk and stare out the window.
Good to be wrong.
Ostrich marking its territory. Bird’s got style…
Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:
Elisa Ruland @ South of Easton with her beautiful post titled Despair, in memoriam to those who died on 9-11: ”Scouring the rusted steel edges I wanted to find an explanation for the madness, I wanted to feel something instead of going numb, to find beauty in the ugliness. The pain, horror and confusion was palpable in the blast etched remains of the steel, and the need to walk away was overwhelming. I left without any answers to calm the static...” That is Elisa’s photograph above. Read more at this link. Check out her other wonderful posts and photographs at this link.
LouAnn @ On the HomeFront with her post titled “Beauty and Grace.” You are asked to write 6 words that describe what your future holds for you. What are your six words? Go to this link and read LouAnn’s story.
The Kindness Blog with a post titled: “Go Humans.” I just began following this blog which posts and shares heartwarming morsels of humanity each day. Check out this post at at this link. Take a moment to fan through the other posts over the past week. I’m convinced you’ll feel a change.
Cristi Moise @ Simple & Interesting his share: People Seeing Their Younger Self in The Mirror. “Tom Hussey is an award-winning lifestyle advertising photographer based in Dallas, Texas. In a series entitled Reflections, Hussey shows a series of elderly people looking in a mirror at their younger self.” Moving. You’ll find one of Hussey’s pictures below. You must see the others at this link.
Have a great hump day.
Daughter is an English indie folk band originating from London in 2010. Originally the solo work of Elena Tonra, they are now a trio with the addition of guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella. The band released their debut album, If You Leave, in March 2013. Charting at Number 16 in the UK, it was also received favourably in the press; “An album as beautifully conceived as If You Leave is one you follow from start to finish, riveted by the story it weaves and the emotion it bleeds.” (Source: wiki)
Q: In a similar way, descriptions like ‘haunting’, ‘ethereal’ and ‘achingly beautiful’ are mentioned a lot, but it’s difficult to describe your music any other way, do you like that praise?
A: Erm, yeah, I don’t really like reading too much [laughs] It’s really lovely when people say things like that about our music, it’s really complimentary, and it has some kind of impact, but yeah, I try not to read too much of what people say in reviews and stuff. They can completely bum you out, and then do the reverse and make you feel really wonderful, and that’s shit as well cause you get lazy and you just think you’re great [laughs] I like being very pessimistic and working hard because I never feel like I’m good enough anyway…Read full Interview with Elena Tonra at Outlineonline.com.
Find their album on iTunes at this link.
Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:
Jon-Mark Davey with his post: Life Changing Moment: “Nothing changes your life like a life-changing moment. It may sound pretty obvious, but that statement doesn’t have real impact until a moment changes your life. One certainly changed ours.” Heartbreaking. Read more at this link.
Make Believe Boutique (back again) with her share titled The Twinkling Stars Behind Our Sorrow: “…It is rare to meet a person whose life is full of gratitude. Even though the course of a single day may bring innumerable blessings to us, the few moments of genuine gratitude we experience are often overshadowed by our complaints, disappointments, sorrow, and frustration…” Read more at this link. [Read more...]
6:10 am. 70° F. Humidity: 100%. Thick. A mood dampener.
After an unexpected, unexplainable and unacceptable two-pound jump last week, Gadget Man replaced the seven-year old bathroom scale. I don’t need to wait three seconds of interminable flashing to see my test scores. If you aren’t getting results, replace the equipment. Pull the band-aid off and hit me.
The new scale is sweet. I step on the scale and it snaps to attention. No waiting, no flashing, no bad scores. This morning, this incredible technology signalled that I was a mere one pound higher than the challenge target, with another month to go. Now we’re talking.
Yet, what a miserable journey this has been. Rationing ice cream. Mouth salivating for pasta. A 3-cookie daily portion limit. People, this is not living. And the real question is whether this is sustainable.
This morning, I’m determined to drive this weight down. Way down below target to give me cushion. In one run.
My head is saying: 10 miles.
My body: Groaning. [Read more...]
Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:
Mona Howard @ Ramblings with her post titled: Practicing with my favorite model. That’s a picture of her granddaughter above. Be sure to check out Mona’s slide show at this link. Children. Miracles. (As is the photographer’s work.)
Marga @ Life As Improv with her poem titled Going It Alone (With Others): “…Going deep is a solitary thing. Aloneness is guarded at my gate - Hours of no thing. I sew into my pocket by hand. I would gulp you silence in a chalice…” Then she closes with a wonderful quote from John O’Donohue: “…Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen…This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.” Read Marga’s entire poem and O’Donohue’s full quote here.
Yvonne @ MISIFUSA’s Blog with her post: Pink Post ~ Life After Breast Cancer: “…But it’s not all flowery after you’re through with the treatments. As many who have endured disease and illness, the aftermath is often the hardest…Because what the hell do I do now? There’s no one to tell you how to live after you’ve endured the ugliness of cancer, the treatments, the surgeries, the chemo, the radiation, the humiliation, the poking and prodding by others. Family and friends are weary from care-taking and the disruption to their lives. All are ready for life to get back to normal ~ as are you…” Read more at this link. [Read more...]
Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:
kingdomany’s photostream with his shot (above) of Buddha in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Steve Layman @ with his share: More from the good old days………….: “Here’s words you don’t hear anymore:…Wash your feet before you go to bed, you’ve been playing outside all day barefooted…Why can’t you remember to roll up your britches legs? Getting them caught in the bicycle chain so many times is tearing them up….Don’t you go outside with your school clothes on!…Be sure and pour the cream off the top of the milk when you open the new bottle…Open the back door and see if we can get a breeze through here, it is getting hot”…Read more @ this link.
Brenda Knowles @ Space2Live with her video post titled: The Space We Need. “Something new for space2live… a short film (5 minutes, it’s worth it). A visual to enhance the many words spilled on the pages of this site. Through filmmaker, Nic Askew’s, beautiful lens the experience, rather than the explanation, of an introvert is captured and shared in a soul biography. You’ll feel the honesty and vulnerability. Enjoy.” Watch film at this link. [Read more...]
I love the quiet that used to disturb me.
I have distance on my life.
The boast and pity of self-regard
have fallen somewhat behind.
the home I carry with me,
I settle into the clouds.
On the mountain
I sit quietly in a sage meadow
visited by the same bees that make lovers
of flowering bushes.
I become part of the golden comb hidden
in the hive humming with delight.”
~ Stephen Levine
“Often when you take on the voice of a great writer, speak his or her words aloud, you are taking on the voice of inspiration, you are breathing their breath at the moment of their heightened feelings, that what all writers ultimately do is pass on their breath.”
I paused and reflected on the “great” writers that I have read. Marilynne Robinson immediately came to mind. She has the ability to transport me to another place and time – - writing with such grace, such beauty and such humanity. She’s won literary “hardware” for her three major novels.
- Housekeeping. Nominated for the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and winner of the Hemingway/PEN Award for first fiction novel.
- Gilead. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and winner of the National Book Circle Critics Award for Fiction.
- Home. Winner of the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction award.
Soon after I read Goldberg’s thoughts on great writers, I came this excerpt from a Chicago Tribune article shared at Lit Verve where the writer asks Robinson about Rev. John Ames, a congregational minister in Gilead, Iowa and the main character in her novel Gilead: [Read more...]
“Two hikers with separate agendas and hiking solo, unaware of the other, set out to break the record for fastest time in completing the Pacific Crest Trail, a grueling, 2,650-mile test for thru-hikers…”
“Heather “Anish” Anderson, a previously overweight high school student who dreamed of one day setting some sort of athletic record, and Josh Garrett, a dedicated vegan raising awareness for Mercy For Animals, both succeeded in their quests, and did so within a day of each other.”
“I carried all of my gear the entire way. I did not have a crew of people meeting me. When I needed supplies, I walked into and out of towns, which added about 30 miles total to my hike…”
“I cry when I think about all the things I have overcome to get here, both on this hike and off. It makes me ever so grateful to that chubby girl who dared to dream big, audacious dreams. I am even more thankful that she grew up to be a woman courageous enough to make those dreams reality.”
“Her dreams came true…reaching the Canadian border by averaging nearly 44 miles a day.”
6:00 am, August 4, 2013: 60F. Gentle morning breeze: 3 MPH. Spectacular day for a run. I’m off. Thoughts chattering. Legs pumping but heavy. Thighs stiff. Bottoms of feet tender. All aches emanating from yesterday’s run. Marquis whispers: “Middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.” Yep, that’s about right.
5:30 am, August 4, 2013: Morning weigh in. 60 days left in the Biggest Loser Challenge. I expect a bad outcome. Expectations realized. Loser! Weight: Back up 1.8. And this after yesterday’s grueling 6-mile, rain-soaking trail run with the wolf pack — slopping around in wet woods, dancing on slippery rocks, and sinking in gooey mud. Somehow escaping injury. Rambo. No, Chubby Rambo. I step (waddle) off the scale in disgust. It’s all about intake and yesterday’s feedings.* So Mr. Lewis**, when? When do I learn?
7:30 pm, August 1, 2013: Rachel returns home from work. Dragging. In a mood. She runs upstairs. Comes down. Attired in florescent, glow-in-the-dark green shorts. Matching shoes. Ear buds in. iPhone in hand. Styling!
“I’m off for a run.”
“Wait, I’m coming with you.”
“No Dad. I would rather go alone.”
“NO, I’m coming.”
“NO Dad. I don’t want you to come. I’m not interested in running a time trial.”
“Rachel, you stand right here and wait. I mean WAIT.”
She waits. We go. Road narrows. Evening traffic heavy. I slow to let her pull in front and we run single file. Her hair tightly wrapped in a single braid which bounces up and down in the center of her back. She has a graceful, confident stride. In contrast, my legs are heavy – - long day at work… 3.5 plates of pasta for dinner…laboring to keep up. I’m breathing heavy.
Good Wednesday morning. Here we go with my selections of the inspiring posts of the week…
- Carol @ Radiating Blossom – Flowers @ Words with her sunflower photography up top. Check out more great photos here.
- Anake Goodall with his share 62 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries.
- Sandy Sue @ A Mind Divided with her post: A Break in the Weather: “…Earlier in the week I had a Come to Jesus meeting with myself. When the depression bottoms out, all my demons swell up like roadkill on a hot day—gassy and explosive. Out trotted All the Reasons My Life is Shit. I won’t bore you with details, just to say there it is an unholy pantheon of gremlins. And when said pantheon gets gassy and explosive, the splatter perimeter is vast…“
- Christy Boyce @ 77 Ways To Grow with her post: Car Crazies!: “So unexpected. Such a feeling of freedom in an unexpected place. I crank up the music and roll down the windows. I am a Mom with NO KIDS in my car!…” [Read more...]
“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
6:50 am. 67F. 87% humidity. Mom’s gone for the weekend visiting family. Zeke’s not happy. Mom walks him every day. Every single day. Three times a day. 2 1/2 hours a day. Daily routine – I wave to them from the couch as they head out the door. This morning, he’s out of sync. Discombobulated. He sees me gearing up for a run. He scrambles into his cage and lies down. He’s knows what’s coming. I grab him by his collar and drag him out of his cage. He snarls, baring his teeth. (I don’t need this sh*t. I don’t want to go either but we’re going. Pure Bred Running Dog who hates running. Owner is carrying him to the car. What a picture this is. He looks me in the eye – not a happy look. I glare back.) I shift his weight to my left and pull him tightly to my chest to free up my right hand. I reach for the door handle of the car. And, pull my lower back. And grimace. Oh, boy. I open the door. Heave him into the back seat. And curse.
I fire up the car. Shift uncomfortably in the seat. Lower back. Hmmmmm.
I back the car out of the garage. Zeke climbs from the back seat to the front. And starts licking my face. ”Sit down. No bloody kisses.“ (He knows that I’m pi**ed.) He sits down in the passenger seat. His seat. And sulks.
And we’re off. Mianus Park. Plan: 5-Mile Trail Run. We arrive at the Park, leash up, and walk through the entrance. He pulls back on the leash and lies down on the bridge. He will not move. He will not accept a treat. (Oh, yes. A test of wills. Just what I need.)
Another dog owner walks by. One older German Shepard Mix. Another is a happy looking mutt with tail wagging furiously. (Did she just give me that look? Like, how’s that pure bred workin’ out for ya?)
I stop pulling on his leash. He’s now lounging, looking down at the river below. (How many shades of humiliation are there?)
I decide to pull a Mom and talk nicely to him. ”Come on buddy. Let’s go for a nice walk in the woods. Come on. Let’s go.” (Oh, for God’s sake. I can’t do this. Is this what I’ve come to? Man-up. 206 lbs of fighting machine against this 70 lb beast and he’s got the upper hand. No chance.)
I look at him. He looks up at me. His tail swishing on the bridge deck. (Is he smiling? Could this be funny?)
“You are going to come. Right now. And run.” (Our last visit to this Park was not a great show. And an Elephant never forgets. And this one has a plan. I will not let him off leash to have him lie down in the grass at the bottom of the hill forcing me to back track. No sir. Not me. I will drag him for five miles, if that’s what it takes.) [Read more...]
Good Wednesday morning. Here we go with my selections of the inspiring posts of the week…
- Up top, you see a photograph by Nitzus, photographer extraordinaire who shares a shot from Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand. I’ve never been to Kiwi-Land but this shot inspires me to do so. Check out more great photos here.
- Letters of Note with a post titled: It’s a strange and confusing world: …In October 1974, as he lay on his death bed at the end of a battle with cancer and reflected on his past, Clyde S. Shield wrote the following heartfelt letter to his 3-week-old grandson and offered some poignant advice for the road ahead…If I could package (with ribbon) those gifts that I would most like to give you, I would. But how do you package integrity, how do you wrap honesty, what kind of paper for a sense of humor, what ribbon for inquisitiveness?…Read more of this moving post at this link.
- Michael Baer’s Stratecution Stories with his post (a letter to his son who is graduating from high school): Letter to A Graduate - Some Rules to Live By: …slow and steady is a solid approach to success. You will enter into college, and into life, with a huge amount of enthusiasm and passion. You will be impatient for success and expecting speedy movement forward. But know that things can take time. And much of life is beyond your control – all you can control is how you deal with things. So keep plugging away, taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, and good things will happen…Read 9 other Rules at this link. [Read more...]
We have this life. We live it day by day. It passes quickly. Sometimes not quickly enough- we get despondent, sullen, downcast. Those are good words. In those slow moments something might appear- a chance to fall through our blistering fast-paced lives to the other side, where we can turn around and view ourselves, take a curious interest. Underneath everything we long to know ourselves. We wouldn’t know it though by the way we act- chugging down another whiskey, not listening to our daughter at breakfast, going sixty in a twenty zone. Reaching to get away; longing to come home. In writing, in sitting, in slow walking, a flash, a moment appears when we fall through and what we are fighting, running from, struggling with becomes open, luminous- or, even better, not a problem, just what it is. Look for those small openings.
~ Natalie Goldberg
Natalie Goldberg, 65, is an American popular New Age author, speaker, teacher and painter. She is best known for a series of books which explore and practice writing as Zen practice. Her 1986 book Writing Down the Bones sold over a million copies and is considered an influential work on the craft of writing. Her 2013 book, The True Secret of Writing, is a follow-up to that work. Goldberg has studied Zen Buddhism for more than thirty years. She has been teaching seminars in writing as a practice for the last thirty years. People from around the world attend her life-changing workshops and she has earned a reputation as a great teacher. The Oprah Winfrey Show sent a film crew to spend the day with Natalie for a segment on Spirituality that covered her writing, teaching, painting, and walking meditation. (Sources: Wiki & NatalieGoldberg.com)
8:24 am. 74F. 66% humidity. Late jump. Two capsules of Nyquil Flu & Cold down the gullet the night before. Slept like a baby. This morning, I’m woozy. After five consecutive days of 96F+ scorchers and too much in-doors time, I needed to get out.
I’m off. Head in a fog. How is it possible to have a head cold in the middle of a July heat wave?
I’m at Mile 1. I start sizing the GERM opportunity. A quick week in review:
- Grand Central Station: 750,000 commuters a day. 1000′s of hands touching my exit door, all spilling out into Manhattan.
- MetroNorth: 1000′s of touches on each stainless steel handrail we grip to hold steady while the train lurches to and fro.
- Lunch. Food particles in the cracks on table. Water spots (one hopes) on spoon. Table top has a light sheen from being wiped with dish towel, after 7 other tables. Grab water glass, warm to touch, soap smell mixed with heavy chlorinated water. Rapid table turnover = > cash flow.
- Bathroom. Hundreds of touches on the door handle a day. (Did your Mamma teach you to wash your hands after going to potty?)
- Taxi cab doors and window handles. Office door handles. Elevator buttons. Conference room tables. Arm rests on chairs.
Do I grab the handle high, or grab it low, as most grab the middle? Or lean on door with shoulder? Or slide jacket sleeve over hand? Or, do I surreptitiously slow my pace to let another open the door in front of me?
And from these touches, a frictionless hand-off to my pen, my blackberry, my phone and my computer keyboard. Hand to nose to face to mouth. The germ baton is passed on; a leaf in the wind, a feather in the air, all silently and deadly landing on yet another unsuspecting prey.
But the moment that sticks is a split second decision to shake a hand prior to the kick-off of a meeting. A natural reflex. A custom. A greeting. A courtesy.
A baby polar bear learns how to walk…
Athletes from Kenya have won more Olympic medals in middle and long distances than any other country…how do they do it?…no coaches are necessary…they thrive on teamwork and competition…genetic theories of dominance are rubbish…you can’t find any other place in the world like this…you have to be here to feel it…the mind is as important as physical talent…so what makes Kenyans the best? Perhaps it is the magic of these mountains.
*SMSI: Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
Stack ‘em up and rumble. Dawn till dusk. Conference calls. One on one calls. Meetings. Emails + Texts: 175 and counting (the day isn’t over). Swinging a gas powered weed wacker. The day: A half-high-five. Many routine ground balls. No major drops. Grade? Falling forward.
I’m on the 7:15 pm MetroNorth railroad heading home. The overhead air conditioning vent is heaven; a cool shower drying sweat from the sweltering cross-town walk. I close my eyes. And drift back to the day’s highlight. A working lunch. I’m 7 minutes late. I apologize and sit. The team waited for me before digging into lunch.
We’re 10 minutes in. The racing, charging, driving of the prior four hours burns off. My heart rate slows. I’m not tapping my foot. I’m not pushing the pace. Not glancing at my watch. Not thinking ahead to the next meeting. I’m watching. And listening. I’m actually present. [Read more...]