Take Flight — a Memorial Day Reflection

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Dedicated to those who are here who can hear for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their fellows, their country, and principles for which this nation must still stand.

In the darkest nights of the soul the fuel for your Phoenix bubbles and boils around your spirit. From the ashes of some future ignition, burn, and flight, win or lose, you will rise again and be better than ever before; more capable in some way, known or unknown, to break through and see done what must be done as the reason for your being here. The darkest nights are never so dark as the dawn is light.

As the Marines say “pain is weakness leaving the body,” so the dark nights of the soul are selfishness of the past leaving the spirit, to be ignited in future service to those in need. These flammable drops may provide fires with which to liberate captives, empathize with and put sinners back on their feet, melt barbed wire, and elevate our human race just a little more before you die. No earthly reward could be better than simply completing our purposes for being. Each of us is given such a purpose, known or unknown, yet accessible more purely through standing again and believing.

The big picture is in our hearts, the sky within, from a vista point that can consider all people, all events, and all that must come with the indomitable commitment of a dedicated, singular spirit behind humble eyes, trafficking in the divine energy of love for all.

No One Says You Have To…

Usually, no one says anything at all. They’re too preoccupied with their own lives to care too much about whether you are training or not. But someday, there may come a moment in time when everything slows down and you are in a situation. Not just any situation, but a big situation requiring that you be strong, fast, durable, fit, tough, coordinated, accurate, agile, and 100% committed.

So, just…

Strap on your helmet and your cycle shoes;

Slide into your road running shoes;

Tie-on your trail runners;

Pack your swim gear;

Wrap your hands;

Lay down your training mat;

Decide on the park with all the bars and props;

Remember that sprinting track;

Go to the mountain trail;

Hit the gym;

Arrive at the ropes course;

Turn the key, lock-up and go. Go out there, or in there, and find a new training experience this day.

Forget all the other times, forget you, forget them, forget it, forget whatever, and move-in-training with no catches, divisions, or hesitation, just the best form and flow of movement you can find.

It need not be perfect movement, but get moving, and work on improving each time you train until your weak is strong; slow is quick; quick is lightening fast; sluggish is sharp; hesitant is rhythmic; off-is-on; and you find within yourself ever-better performance each new evolution you train through.

Be patient and non-judgmental toward yourself. Simply let your analytic self see the objective, see the difference between what was done and the objective, and let your whole self get behind a new effort ever closer to, or right on the objective, getting better, closer, and ever more proficient.

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Each new flight is yours to navigate.

If you can do this once in training sessions during one day, you can do it every other training day the rest of your life, improving in some way, small, medium, or big. I’ll take any improvement I can get on any given day, and let the rest go until tomorrow.

This Day, This Moment, The Right Thing Will be Done

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

Cycles surround us. Yet sometimes chaos forces us into fast waters, whipping us about like a leaf in a flash flood…

As when a close family member is hit by a car in a parking lot while walking into the grocery store. In a moment of chaos, of disordered mental and physical operations, a driver strikes down the man who raised you. And that man makes it, but his many decades mean he faces a big recovery challenge from that broken hip. And as his adult son or daughter, all of your plans change. Your duties call, honor calls, love grounds you. You turn to the task of caregiving, arranging, and spending some mind-body numbing hours on hard surfaces attending, watching, listening, and learning what is needed to prepare, transfer, and make in-home care a reality so this VIP of yours can get some sleep, recover faster, and be among loved ones. Here the stress adaptivity of your training is tested.

So it is with all of us. Our training lives morph into something completely different during this time. They move from a training life to a doing-life, as the physical things we do in caregiving become the top priority. This is not likely what we trained for in previous days, however, with a well-rounded training approach in more orderly times, the fringe benefits feed these unexpected efforts we face.

We work in sustaining intervals of what-exercise-we-can-get to sustain our ongoing effort: as when a simple swiss ball can help us redistribute life-giving blood, energy, electric signals, and physical force through out muscles, connections, and body in a small fitness room on the road to retrain ourselves from the sitting, leaning, and waiting of institutional buildings and unnatural light.

These can be the times that training comes to the front and stands by us when the chips are down. There is going to be a price for taking on duty. There usually is. That is the way the world works. Yet by decisively embracing it we may seize the purpose of our training lives on a different level of motivation and performance, where one real event and experience is not a training drill, but itself an opportunity to set new precedents and become open to new dimensions in our future goals.

Hit the Road Jack

Mountains catch light and shadow so subtly and differently from moment to moment, their beauty brings enough surprise to feel transportive. There is a sense of renewal given by myriad conditions.

It is the same way when you hit the road for a walk, run, or cycling. Part of the reason for hitting the road is to put variety in your life. There are so many roads, routes, directions, and orders of taking them that hitting the road will often have reset value for you.

So hit the road. Renaming yourself Jack is optional.IMG_8282

Fri: Kite Adventure

high and far away...

high and far away…tree at left flies kite better than blogger; as did child Kite Master and a small dog.

art of kite flying exhibited by tree

art of kite flying exhibited by tree holding spool, kite in background obeying. A tree.

The wind was right Friday for the Kite Master to show herself.

Effortlessly handling the loyal dog-kite, she flew it on the swing; dancing twirls; and even tied it to her dog who also flew it flawlessly.

Dad crashed it three times.

Once, the wind was too strong, even for the Kite Master, pulling the spool and string from her hands.

The spool rose and fell, flying at about 15 knots in an easterly direction. Dad sprinted after it. It crossed a street. Then the kite pulled the spool high and stuck it firmly into the crook of a branch about 25 feet above the driveway of a home where no one was home. The tree flew the kite flawlessly, never losing it, never crashing it.

Using an extension rod fetched from home, I whacked the spool loose from the tree. Fail: could not wrap the string around the extension. Off went the spool again, dipping low, but moving at a clip across another street. I got a break. The kite pulled the string over a garage roof. The spool hung within my reach for about five seconds as I chased it down. As I reached for it, the kite jumped and the spool lifted steadily out of my reach, skittered across the roof and launched off the other side of this house into the adjoining yard on the next block.

Another sprint to locate it. There was the kite, flying true, bobbing and weaving and using all the string. But I could not see where the string was on the ground. Finally we saw the little shrub in a back yard that was now flying the kite. Flawlessly.

After knocking and ringing, there was no one home. We finally seized the spool, and walked the kite home. On the way, the Kite Master handed me the spool. I crashed the kite into a yard. We spent ten more minutes extricating the string and kite from a small spruce tree.

We were all smiling ear-to-ear. It was a kite adventure to remember. And it was a running kite adventure, with sprint intervals, timing, and of course, learning from the Kite Master.

personal genesis

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There is a place deep inside you can go, and through a window is a book, the book of life. There you will see the truth about you and why you are here. When all seems lost, when all appears hopeless and confused, go there to your personal desiderata without words and be renewed. There is no time or entropy there, and no corruption. The center of choice, of freedom is there. Energy beyond all energies, is there. Not destructive, but the Genesis. When the seed coat falls as a gift returned, there the ever future becomes present.

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In the lyrics of this piece, I see translated in a few words what the above says.

To Poets in Motion or Not

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Events conspired

chances were-

collusion collided

with our

busy battles

of self.

We missed

the convergences.

The movement around us

conjured visions and passions

that we were moving.

Yet we were as idle

as burning engines in Park.

Motion heats, yet also cools

the wind in our sails disperses

the over-concentration

of all that

we did not do

but expected others to.

Entangled, unfree, incomplete

as an Example

to lead on our feet.

If you’ve read the book “Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness”…

..and you believe it will help others bridge gaps to a self-led, dauntless, consistent training life within their busy-tiring schedules…

Then please feel free to rate and review the book at one of the following venues!

Amazon

iTunes (iBookstore app download)

Barnes & Noble

Lulu.com

 

Active Patience: Look for the Light in Moments of Temporary Dislocation

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To My CrossFit Friends: Try Adaptive Training for the Long Haul

Adaptive training is sustainable, body-wise, and freer compared to many manifestations of CrossFit. CrossFit has gems to offer, but I believe they were borrowed gems. Those gems were adopted from elsewhere and combined in a “Box,” or a “crucible.” The toughest gems came from elite forces training, that is, combat training. Do or die training. Still, part of military training, even elite military training, is readiness. And readiness involves recovery, and non-injury. If you’re injured, you’re not ready. If you don’t recover properly, injury risk spikes.

For some that may have temporary appeal, especially to younger people. Yet younger people lack experience, and seldom see conflicts of interest in business models that target them. Young people often appear non-conformist…all at the same time in the same way. It is a vulnerable time. And some people are lonely. Lonely as hell. The comradeship they lack they may seek in an intense, physical, shared experience. For that reason, they are less likely to see those conflicts of interest lurking.

Let’s think outside the Box a bit. What is a healthy versus unhealthy gift of individual power to a culture or authority for mind-body training? Some CrossFit groups may dial-in a healthy balance in their approach, especially after recent controversy. On the other hand, there are the other reports:

Getting Fit Even If It Kills You

CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret

Idea Fit Discussion

Navy Times

How CrossFit Forges Elite Failure

And you can Google the rest of the negatives, of which there are many.

On the other hand, you will also find the positives and Google them too. Any CrossFit member or gym owner will be more than happy to tell you the positives. Yet others will say if you aren’t committed, they don’t want you. And I’d say you should be ready to respond with a laugh at that manipulation game. Just remember, not every useful wonder of chemistry is good to mix at the same time. You can get hurt or die from the ensuing explosion or gaseous poisoning. True it is also of training. Excesses are not consistent with durable endurance or sustainable fitness, and therefore excesses in training are not always consistent with readiness.

Military, sport, art, and work readiness is about fitness and conditioning, but training isn’t about getting injured, it is about proofing against it when the real thing trained for is going on. Studies in stress inoculation make it just as much about mindset, adaptive sleeping, recovery, and rewiring after traumatic experiences. The stresses are measured and periodized by time of exposure and response during training. Check out this summary of researched-supported points in the work of Lt. Col. David Grossman, specifically:

Section three describes the mental attitude necessary to be a warrior. The book goes into greater detail about stress inoculation and its importance to effective, realistic training. There are also some important training principles outlined.

Principle 1: Never “Kill” a Warrior in Training. Learners are expected to complete a scenario even if hit, stabbed or shot. As a trainer, tell them, “You’re not dead until I tell you you’re dead!” Don’t give up, always win.

Principle 2: Try to Never Send a Loser off Your Training Site. Have your participants go through a scenario as many times as necessary in order to have them succeed. Scenarios designed to make the trainee look foolish or fail just prove that the training designers are jerks.

Principle 3: As a Trainer, Never Talk Trash about Your Students. Don’t ridicule or try to tell funny stories about the last trainee who tried to complete your scenario. Your role as a trainer/leader is not only to pass along knowledge but also to inspire. You cannot do this when you are not respected. If criticism is to be given, give it in private. If praise is warranted, do so publicly.

I’m sure this could include: don’t give Rhapdo to your trainees. Don’t injure your troops in training so they are disabled for the real fight.

But are you training for combat? It is as much about mindset, and handling what your body does. Listen:

LTC David Grossman interview.

So to some extent CrossFit, run by those who are trained coaches, can achieve some of these training goals. Yet not everyone is training to be a warrior any more than every tool in a toolbox is a hammer. However, even military training leaves boot camp behind and graduates into a more sophisticated, measured, and periodized experience over time. It mixes individual control with leadership. Most individual civilians who are training for combat don’t have the rest of the training. They are not warriors per-se, but want to be ready for what this society teaches them to fear — which is about everything. Which begs the question: should training be motivated by fear? Or should training be inspired by the commitment to master fear?

For now, let’s discuss.

Don’t Give Up

Paula Cole and Peter Gabriel put this message to song so beautifully:

For all who train, race, compete, and more importantly, love.

Don’t give up is just another way of saying “I love you,” and love is life’s truth and meaning.

 

For more of Paula Cole’s heart reviving music, see:

http://paulacole.com/home

For Peter Gabriel:

http://petergabriel.com/