I read Historical Fiction. I lived in a make-believe past. I read Fantasy. I went into a fairy tale world. Historical Fiction and Fantasy, with a dabbling of Science Fiction made up the bulk of my reading for over ten years. What do I have to show for it? I can sit for long periods at a time, and I have a rather decent reading comprehension level.
And then one day, about four or five years ago, I picked up some Non-Fiction. I figured with all the reading I do; I might as well learn something. My life has not been the same since. I went from leadership and psychology to health and fitness. Whatever I came across that I felt had the ability to improve my life, I read.
What has been the benefit? Almost every facet of my life has become a little bit better. In my opinion, the transformation has been amazing. I think different, feel different, and may even look a little different. There is a quality of life I imagine living and every day I get a little closer to it. All because I changed what I read about.
Nobody forces me to read. And unless you are in school, nobody is likely to force you to read. It is a choice with a myriad of benefits and very few cons. Regardless of age or ability, there is a wealth of wisdom available to us. The only thing holding us back is us. Make the choice to read. What is the worst that can happen?
A game that is too hard. An assignment that is too difficult. A task that seems impossible. I watch as my son gets frustrated. Like water, he wants to take the easy path.
The hard game. There is a value to games if they challenge you. The others are only timewasters. Too often, Alec plays the easy game. Why? It is easy and they do not challenge the brain. The hard games develop critical thinking, strategy, and cunning. The hard games are frustrating. We have all been there. We have all struggled endlessly repeating the same feedback loop that is destined to fail. But this is where practice comes in. To develop a new skill, you need repetition. To be a master:
The difficult assignment. Some of the math problems, especially the word problems, were too difficult for Alec to figure out on his own. Reading those questions and putting them into mathematical equations went beyond the young third grader’s current ability. But does he have a system for breaking down the problem? Not yet. He could wish that the homework would go away, but even he knows that is not going to happen. If he wants a passing grade, then his only solution is to figure it out. Once again, we have all been there before. All those tedious problems that never seem to go away. They will never magically disappear, but they can get easier. To make it happen:
The impossible task. [A step back into mythology] For the mighty Hercules to clean the stables of King Augeas, he had to get creative. There was no way he could complete the task in one day by getting down on his hands and knees and scrubbing. Of course, he used his strength to help him get it done, but he also used his brain. With wisdom, he created the plan. With his body, he executed the plan. We will all face seemingly insurmountable challenges in the future, but…
Earlier this week, I discussed my sleep issues and the failures that led up to it. That was on a Monday night. Tuesday night’s sleep was so-so. When Wednesday morning came around, I was determined not to repeat those same issues. I woke up at 3:45 in the morning and knocked out 10,000 meters on my rowing machine before going into work. After work, I ate a quick dinner around 5 p.m. and then spent another hour in the gym coaching my son’s parkour class. I had nothing else to eat that evening and minimal fluid intake. I did a little stretching and read for a few minutes (on my iPad but in super-dark mode). By 9 o’clock, the lights went out. I was primed for a good night’s sleep. At 10:30, I was still awake. Ugh!
The next morning, I read an article from the American Sleep Association, Deep Sleep: How to Get More of It. Did you know that the brain operates at less than 1hz while in deep sleep? I didn’t, and at the time of reading it didn’t pay much attention to it. Until…
I listened to a Living 4D podcast with Paul Chek and Nick Pineault (Episode #29: Overcoming EMF Pollution). It was by chance that I chose that episode. What I learned may have changed my life. Here are the highlights from the episode:
Water is extremely sensitive to frequency. Our bodies consist of about 60% water with the brain and heart being composed of about 73%.
The earth’s natural frequency is 7.83 Hz.
4G cell frequency operates 700-2500 MHz, 1 MHz is a thousand Hz.
WI-FI operates at 2.4 or 5 GHz. 1 GHz is a million Hz.
5G cell frequency ranges from 28-39 GHz.
Paul Chek has chronic neck pain. This pain was reduced when he turned the wireless off in his house before bed.
Another example was given of a client who woke up 3-4 times a night to urinate. When he turned off the WI-FI, he was able to sleep through the night. Remember we are composed of about 70% water.
But everybody says that WI-FI and 5G is safe. At least, that is what the research has shown. But according to Nick Pineault, a detailed look at the research shows that it was primarily funded by the big tech companies that had the most to gain from a “safe” test result.
My current sleep issues are:
Chronic neck and back pain from a misspent childhood that keeps me awake and uncomfortable.
Frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate.
Mental restlessness causing an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
My wife’s issues are:
Frequently wakes up.
When I got home that afternoon, I told my wife we are going to try an experiment. I told her we were going to put all our devices on airplane mode and cutoff the WI-FI before bed. Thankfully, she agreed to go along with it. By 8:30 that evening, everything was dark.
I woke up once around 11 p.m. when I heard a noise outside. It didn’t take long to go back to sleep.
When my alarm went off at 3:45 a.m., I felt refreshed. No back or neck pain. No grogginess. No desire to hit the snooze button.
Later, I asked my wife how she slept. She said it was good. The only time she woke up was not long after I woke up. She had a hard time going back to sleep. Keep in mind, this was after seven hours of sleep. Other than that, she had no problems.
In addition, I noticed a difference in our dogs, especially our eleven-year-old Yorkie. She usually is restless at night and likes to wonder up and down the hall. The clicking of her nails on the floor is usually enough to wake me up. I didn’t notice her get up once. As far as I can tell, she slept through the night. As humans, we tend to ignore outside vibrations and frequencies. I wonder how cell and WI-FI signals affect our pets.
One successful night does not prove to be the best sample size. Were the results skewed based on my optimism? That is hard to tell, but optimism does have an impact. Is this a placebo effect? How will this experiment perform on a stressful night with a full moon? I am not sure, but I can’t wait to find out. Until next time, sweet dreams!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen a few disturbing posts from members of the fitness community that I respect. They were insinuating the use of weight-lifting gloves as a form of weakness.
Personally, I don’t prefer to wear gloves. I feel like I have a better connection with the weights. I have better control. My hands get tougher. Yet, I wear gloves. Maybe this makes me soft, but I have my reasons.
It all started with a two-pound jump rope. If you miss with that thing, you might get a concussion. The torque it produces strengthens the arms and shoulders, but that same torque is felt primarily in the hands. It has many great benefits except for the penny-sized blisters it puts on the inside of my thumbs. Not knowing the value of inner thumb callouses, I wear gloves when I jump rope.
The rowing machine. For shorter workouts, the gloves are not that necessary. Going into longer workouts of 30-120 minutes, I don the gloves. I didn’t wear them the first few times I went into the longer sessions, but then I started developing blisters on the middle digits of my fingers. I don’t mind having callouses, but do I want them running up the length of my fingers?
Winter weightlifting. I work out in my garage. Whatever the temperature is outside is the same temperature on the inside. And in the winter, when the mercury starts to drop, grabbing an iron bar or dumbbell is miserable. When I am lifting, I want to concentrate on the movement not the numbness in my fingertips.
In terms of fitness, what are my goals? It is to get a little better every day. It is to be a more functionable human being in my older years. Does it matter if I don’t have the latest and most fashionable clothes? Do I need the best shoes or the best gym equipment? No. What I must do is get in there and do the work. To glove or not to glove does not matter. The work matters. And if you are a trainer, glove-shaming or any shaming is not the key to success. Your message to your clients should be simple: Do the work.
I have been holding a little stress lately, and I think I can even feel it in my midsection. This stress is the culmination of many different things, mostly the things which haven’t even happened yet. It is an uncertain future, and it is affecting my mind today.
The choices of my past have led me to this. It is good that I reflect on the past in the hopes of not repeating it tomorrow. But once I give its the due measure it deserves, I must let it go and move on. It is one of the core tenets of my philosophy. It is also one of the hardest ones to adhere to.
On the way home from Parkour practice, my son asked me an interesting question. “What is Space Force,” he asked. He saw the flag during the National Anthem at the beginning of the Superbowl. I told him it was an attempt to get back to where we used to be. As a nation, we once used to be at the forefront of space exploration. But the years went by, the funding went away, and eventually so did our preeminence.
“Oh,” he said, “I thought it was to keep the asteroids from hitting the planet.”
A fair point. We then discussed our inability to stop such cataclysmic events. Our conversation ranged from asteroids, dinosaurs, ice ages, super-volcanoes, and floods. They happen every so often. And no matter how great or advanced we think we are, there are some things we cannot avoid. Seeing as how they are out of our control; we can’t worry about the possibility of them occurring in the future. We must live in the present.
It was a simple run-of-the-mill talk we had, but I wonder if he can do it. Can he live a life in the present, free of the shackles that are attached to the past and the present? I hope he will be able to. I hope there will come a time that I may be able to do it also. I am not there yet, but I think I am getting closer.
Slow. That’s what my Tuesday morning was. I woke up unrefreshed and unmotivated. It was a new day. It was supposed to be full of life, a day filled with opportunity. But on this Tuesday morning, none of it felt possible.
Why? There are a few possible culprits all beginning the day before. First was a hard leg workout, followed by a glass of bourbon, and a late dinner. I didn’t stretch before bed. And to cap it off, I was reading a PDF on my iPad, and it was not set to night mode. Nothing like a load of blue light coming into the brain via the eyeballs right before you turn in for the evening.
The result was a less-than-ideal Tuesday. The body wasn’t willing. The mind wasn’t clicking. It was Aristotle who said, “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” I had no energy. I had no essence.
I am not guaranteed to wake up every morning full of energy and life. But if I take a good look at the day and night before, I may be able to negate some of the bad juju I woke up with. If I don’t take a hard look at the events leading up to it, I am destined to repeat more of these bad nights.
There must be a transformational moment.
Something must click within my brain. There must be an inner voice saying, “If you continue without the change, you will stay the same.” What was that insanity definition again, something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
Again, there must be a transformational moment. Those moments come to all of us throughout the day. They are moments of insight suggesting a minor correction in our compass bearing. Should I eat or drink this? Was my reaction appropriate in this moment? Do I really need to sit around for the next episode to auto-start on Netflix? These moments come and go all the time. Maybe it is a sign from the universe, an instinct, or a tiny little voice asking you if this is the best choice. To ignore it is foolish. To heed the warnings is to be open towards growth. To make the change is wisdom.
I slice the knife down the side of the mango. A big piece falls away, and I repeat the action on the other side. Thanks to my brilliant sister-in-law, Eunice, I slash a crisscross grid into each piece. I then open it up like a flower and cut away bite-sized pieces. The best, meatiest parts of the mango go onto a plate, and I give them away.
Alec grabs the plate and greedily devours the orange bites. He loves mangoes. As I watch him, I eat the scraps from the stone and the skin. It isn’t much compared to Alec’s portion, but it is enough. It is more than enough as that first bite brings on memories of an ungrateful child who never fully appreciated the sacrifices of his mother.
I always watched my mother give me the best portions. I watched her cut away at the mango and give me all I wanted. She took whatever was leftover. I didn’t appreciate it then. I just ate the mango like it was a part of my birthright. She worked long hours to pay the bills, ensure I had clothes, and put food on the table. This too was lost on me. I could only see the things I did not have. I was a foolish child, selfish, and unappreciative of those who had me in their best interest.
I cut the mango out of instinct. Without even thinking, I give away the best portion. What I saw forty years ago is what I do today, because somebody else, my mother, gave me the best portion. It was her sacrifices that molded me into who I am today. I watch my son eat the mango, and I pray that he remembers these days when he passes the mango on to his children. This is what we do. We give the best portion to those who will go after us, to prepare them for the future.
There is only one real failure in life possible, and that is not to be true to the best one knows.
How can you be true to the best you know?
If you find yourself on this planet with a sacred duty, to not fulfill it would be your only, one true failure.
There is a reason why we are here. To say our existence is only chance and that we have no purpose, then you are not digging deep enough within yourself.
An apple tree that bears apples is achieving its purpose. It is in harmony with the universe. No matter how much the apple tree wishes to bear oranges, it will never be able to do it. It will either fulfill its purpose, or it will be barren.
To be true, to do that which you were designed for, is to be in harmony with yourself and the universe. The universe is a great symphony. All its parts working in unison, fulfilling the roles they were designed for. Good and evil, chaos and order, all in balance. We are a part of this symphony. We must play our parts.
Saturday afternoon shopping and errands. I’m not going to lie. This is not my favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon. On the way, I suggest we eat lunch first. We go to Willy Taco.
Chips, salsa, and a big glass of some kind of fruit punch for the kiddo. He is playing with his Nintendo Switch. Occasionally, we let him bring it in. Today is one of those days. After all, it is Saturday afternoon and who wants to spend the day riding around shopping.
He reaches for a chip. On the way to his mouth, he clips the fruit punch. Fruit punch and ice go tsunami across the table, across the plates, and over the Switch.
My instinct is to add a little kindling to the fire. This is an interruption to a pleasant lunch. What are you thinking? How could you do something like that? Way to go, you ruined your Switch. These are the initial thoughts that course through my head. I look at him. Tears are starting to roll down his cheek. We clean up and Mama goes to the restroom.
2003. It was our first date. We are sipping on beer in our little booth at a local Mexican restaurant or maybe it was Applebee’s. Eighteen years ago, and the details are a little fuzzy. What isn’t fuzzy is me knocking over my beer. Sadly, this is not my first tabletop tsunami experience. The cute girl sitting across from me, Bethany, gets the full wave of ice-cold hops and barley.
A few years later, and that same girl somehow became my wife. My mom is visiting us in Tallahassee. Coincidentally, we are back at the local Applebee’s for dinner. We are sipping beer and enjoying our appetizers. I reach for a chip and initiate the next storm of destruction. This time my wife is spared. Thank God! Unfortunately, my mother is in the impact zone and the storm surge hits her full in the lap. All I can do is shake my head as I reach for any napkins in the vicinity.
About a week or two ago, I was listening to a Podcast. I can’t remember which one, but one little snippet stuck with me. They were talking about kids and their coordination. Overcoming clumsiness is a part of their development. How ridiculous it is to be upset with them when this happens. The conversation resonated with me, because I wondered how often I spoke what was in my mind when Alec had an accident. There is no use crying over spilt milk unless your parent makes you cry. In my mind, I told myself I can’t be that person that makes these molehill accidents into a tragic mountain.
As I mentioned, mama, that same cute girl from before, goes to the restroom. I look over at Alec and think about that Podcast episode. I tell him, “It is okay. Accidents happen, and this was an accident. There is no need to be upset. We are not upset. Your Switch is okay.” Bethany comes back from the restroom, and we resume our lunch as if nothing ever happened.
The hard thing is not voicing those initial snap judgments that come to mind. By taking a moment to see the big picture and keeping my snide comments to myself, I prevent the accident from escalating into something else. We are all human and prone to accidents. In this case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I only hope he can gain a better control of his motor skills earlier than I did in life.