Break’s Over

20180529_210840-EFFECTSWell, that was a long break. But sometimes life jumps up and demands some stoppage time.  So let’s get us all up to speed.

1 – I am back in Indiana. That means I am back to training with my Search and Rescue team, which is great. It also means I am away from my family and friends in Florida, which sucks. And away from my daughter, which i awful. There are many positives to focus on, which I am trying to do. But I am not always super successful.

2 – Nutrition and training. I am currently on a fat loss template from Renaissance Periodization. It has helped reteach me about the value of carbs and, yes, even sugar at times! I entered a Transformation Challenge to that end. It has taught me some mental toughness and grit. I am beginning to see real body recomposition and it is awesome. No eliminating entire groups of macronutrients. Just learning to fuel properly while still holing on to the principles that I believe in.
As for training…I still enjoy flipping and beating tires. I have added heavy caries again and throwing a heavy tire overhead. I am working Wendler 5/3/1 Boring But Big templates and adjusting assistance work to try and eliminate weaknesses. It’s been nice getting back to basics.

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3 – Mental. I have gone through the last few months feeling like there is a hollow spot. It feels like no one really gets me and, honestly, the pain inflicted through training is what gives me a sense of knowing and peace. There is just an odd part in there that I cannot figure out. Some missing piece. It’s a tough thing to feel like no one really gets you. But we will simply work through it, stay mindful, and figure out what that space is for.

4 – Education. I am still reading constantly. Finding positivity, education about the role of food in our lives. I am also attending University of the People. It is a tuition-free but accredited online university. It is legit! I am looking for a 2 year degree for now in Business and we will go from there. It will be useful when I open my gym someday.

Other than that? I am just trying to enjoy what is around me. My team, my kids, my training, and my friends. I continually try and push outside my comfort zone and will never stop doing that.

To tell the truth, I have been hurt by people very close to me. And that’s the thing…life does that. We will all be hurt sooner or later. People are human and they will let you down. But as Stoicism teaches us, it can only cause harm if you allow it. You don’t know their demons either. You and only you are in control of how you react to such things. You cannot control them, but you can control your reaction. You can control the way outside stimuli effect you. You can use that the same as you would use a cold shower or hard training. As a chance to practice getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. And if the same people hurt you twice, it is only because you have allowed it.

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I have been hurt by old friends, found new friends to love, trusted immediately, loved completely, and challenged myself constantly. But I am still far from ever becoming ugly. Except to those that don’t get it.

My life is not perfect. But it is helping me learn and grow and it’s full of love. So I guess that is something 🙂

 

Comfort Teaches Nothing

Funny thing about comfort…it’s comfortable. And if you are talking about a bed, blankets, a hug, or a pair of shoes, it’s a good thing. In general, comfort is good. It makes you want to experience that, whatever it is, more. That is a pretty good thing in many aspects of your life.

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However, with a career, training, nutrition, and other things, comfort is your enemy. You move into comfort and enjoy the feeling. You like where you are. On the surface, that is good. But it does not promote growth. Growth comes from being uncomfortable. Forcing yourself to learn a new skill or trade. Forcing yourself to work harder and move out of the sweet spot you have been coasting in. Loving your job, but pushing yourself to learn new parts of it. To be better. To find and work on your weaknesses.

True growth comes from putting yourself in a situation that does not feel good. Growth is gained through being uncomfortable. Uncomfortable situations often force positive change. Intentionally putting yourself in such a situation amounts to a lot of suck. It is not big fun, nor should it be. It is hard. It can be painful. It can be sad. It can make you uncomfortable. Like being tossed into the fire. And that means uncomfortable situations are simple to find. Try standing under a cold shower. Work out outside in the freezing cold or the rain. Turn off the air or heat in your car. Do something you are afraid of. Find a weakness and begin to punish it. Get comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable.

The good news is that steel is forged and strengthened in fire. Fire is a catalyst that promotes growth. Put the sword in fire. Pound it some more. Cool it. When you want to again strengthen the sword? Back into the fire.

Too many people are afraid of pain today. Physical and emotional pain is cleansing and a symptom of personal growth. There is no reset button to save you. Your only respite is to quit. And not quitting when it gets truly hard teaches you who you are. What you are made of. What you are capable of.

Find your fire today. Find your pain and let it strengthen you. A class. A trade. The gym. Dip yourself into that fire and forge yourself into what you were meant to be. The best you that you can be. And that will serve you well when the pain and discomfort are not your choice. Your only choice is how you will react.

Unbeatable.

Indestructible.

The best you that you were meant to be.

Comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Better than yesterday.

Eureka!

I have finally found it! The one secret that can let you quit eating well, exercising, and working on moving your body every single day so that you can stay stronger and healthier. And it is SO SIMPLE!

Ready?

QUIT.

Just Quit.

Decide that you don’t care if you change your mind, your body, your family, your friends, your community. Decide that it is just too hard and you don’t have the time. Simply choose easy. Just Quit.

What, that doesn’t sound good? Oh, I have an alternate for you.

Do what’s hard. Eat well. Move every single day. Live the way you should. Not for longevity, but for healthy, good longevity! Live long, but live WELL long!

Listen, you can change your life and the world. But there is no “one secret” or “simple trick to lose 50 pounds” or a magic pill. There is simply making the choice to be strong and healthy and better. To do not what’s easy, but what’s right!

The right answer is so very often the harder answer. That doesn’t make it wrong. It makes it worth it. It means to get there, you have to pay the man.

So get out there. PAY THE MAN.

And don’t you quit.

It won’t always be easy, but it will damn sure be worth it. And you never can tell who else will change because they were watching.

Pay the man. Change the world.

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Wrestling a Demon

Yesterday was an eventful day…

While driving my daughter to a relative’s house, we had an interesting event happen. As we made a right turn, about 3 miles from our destination, I saw something in the road at the top of the hill. I immediately stopped when we saw it was a gopher tortoise. We stopped and made sure he made it across.

As I started to drive off, I noticed that the front driver side had the unmistakable sound and feel of a flat. I turned around and went to a gas station. It was VERY flat. It turns out that a plug I had in the tire long ago failed in the heat. I had her text that we may be a bit late and changed to my little spare. (Under 5 minutes, for the record. Not that it matters…just sayin’…)

IISTD flat tire

We got her to her destination and I began looking for a tire shop. I ended up locating one not much out of the way and swung by. The tire was not fixable, they were closing in 2 hours, needed to buy a new one. $137. I asked if they offered a veteran’s discount, which I do not do often. He said, “You’re lucky I am even putting it on.”

NOW

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893
The Scream by Edvard Munch

There are lots of moving parts here, but here is some background on me. Spending unexpected money is always a source of anxiety. Huge, unbearable, gut-destroying anxiety. Almost unbearable. Growing up without much of it, it is the one thing that will immediately make me a mess. I react horribly. Stressed, I let it take my happy and turn it into a state of worry that controls everything for days. Even in this case, I felt the knots in my stomach that are a tell-tale sign that cortisol is being pumped for the stress reaction. But this time, I recognized it. I felt it and changed my course. I started examining the situation…

We drove for 2 hours on the interstate. This made me realize how lucky we were that it did not blow out doing 75 on a crowded interstate.

That tortoise…he had to have started his journey at such a specific time to put him in the road ahead of us. To give us the chance to help. My daughter, totally convinced we were heroes, was pretty happy to see him. She also mentioned that she was happy I didn’t yell about the tire or get stressed out. And I was glad as well. AND she was very impressed with my speed at changing it.

So I get to the tire shop and, as I said, he tells me, “You’re lucky I am even putting it on.”

In another life, I’d have gone to the mats with him and then drove home on the spare. The MArine would have come loose and we would have had quite the discussion. Yesterday, after having thought how lucky we were and refusing to let the one instant control my day, I answered simply, “You’re right. I really appreciate it. Very thankful you are open.” Don’t get me wrong…my immediate thought was to leave or have at it. But I chewed on that. Why? What good will come of it? I held it. I thought it out and changed MY reaction.

That’s the secret here. We can’t change the information. We can only change the way we react to the information. WE control that. And that is the only thing we control.

As we were talking, he mentions, “Yeah, we have so much work. I am 5 guys short. 1 fired ,3 emergencies, that made guys leave, and my son. He just had surgery on his collarbone after an awful wreck on a 4-wheeler. He buys and flips 4-wheelers for a living, just doesn’t normally FLIP 4-wheelers.”

We chatted about that a bit and he was more at ease. His son happened to have worn his gear to test ride the repairs that day. He got lucky, even if a 30-minute surgery turned into a 3-hour surgery that made him go looking for a doctor to find out if his son was ok. He obviously was glad to get it off his chest. All of it. But that’s just it.

We ALL carry demons. We all wrestle our own and are just trying to hang on to this blue marble many days. Him as well. On my way home, I began thinking about how lucky I was. How, long ago, he decided this was what he would do for a living. And during that decision, decided to be open later than most shops on Saturdays. Most shops would have been closed. All the rest, including the one I had the flat at, were closed.

All the way home I considered that. How lucky I am. How fortunate that flat tire was. How it gave us a chance to see the tortoise. How it gave me 5 extra minutes with my daughter. How it could have been catastrophic.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t let the stress win the day or dwell on it. For the first time, it was taken in stride and moved forward. I came home, ate a healthful meal instead of comfort food, and slept well.

I can honestly say, without even the slightest hint of dishonesty, that I was thankful for that flat tire. Not only for the time and the tortoise…but also because that tire is another step in helping me become the best version of myself. It helped me make it through a wrestling match where I’d have come out the other side much worse for the wear.

What I saw is the one thing that is the most important thing we can all look for.

Yesterday, through a tortoise, an unexpected bill, a guy wrestling his own demons, and a flat, I got the gift of progress. I got to win a round.

We cannot control the information. We cannot control the reaction from others. We can only control our own reaction.

We all wrestle our demons. Yesterday, I won.