Friday, August 30, 2013

Couch to 5K

It's really kind of funny for someone who has ran a marathon to join a local Couch to 5K program, and that is exactly what I had done! Yeah, I'm posing as an undercover couch potato secretly trying to get individuals hooked on running. I arrive at the weekly meetings down at the track trying to down play my innate instinct to get out there and run. I admit that I struggle walking for a few minutes before having to restrain myself to a mere jog for a few more minutes before reverting back to a walk while all along convincing people that "we" can do this. As the weeks roll on by I believe the coach has caught onto me and the others suspect I have ran before this murderous endeavor of getting up off the coach and running. At this point we are too far along into the program for any of this to matter because I have encouraged several individuals that they can indeed do this and in fact they are. Mission completed. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Spartan Races

I had been running anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 miles a year on sidewalks and asphalt for a while now, but something shifted inside me this year. Each year I set forth a personal athletic goal for myself and this year happened to be the Spartan Race Trifecta (spartanrace.com). Training for this race series has been grueling to say the least and has required integrating both running and crossfit training together. With two races now under my belt I can honestly say Spartan Races have met the requirements of having a wonderful life experience. Running in these races has given me permission to act like a kid again as they provided the opportunity for me to run and jump through the forest while climbing ropes and crawling on my belly through mud under barbed wire. There have been forty foot cargo nets to climb over and creeks to run down along with monkey bars to maneuver across and eight foot walls to climb. Thanks to Spartan Races I have even had the opportunity to jump over fire; how cool is that?! Don't get me wrong though, these races have not disappointed in the area of providing a physical challenge, but the fun has outweighed the rigors of finishing these races. If you are in need of a nice life experience I highly recommend running in a Spartan Race, they won't disappoint! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I am not normal

I am not the least bit normal according to today's standards. I love to be active and engage in activities most people prefer to avoid. I steer clear of donuts, soda pop and fast food. Instead of watching a two hour movie I prefer to run for two hours. I am not the type of person who watches sports but I am that crazy person you see running everywhere all the time while wondering how in the hell he got to the other side of town so quickly. You see, I actually enjoy running double digit miles, especially on the trails and up the side of mountains. When I was at work the other day someone asked me if I actually ran the local pinnacle trail range, which is a local hiking hotspot with an initial steep climb that almost always whoops everyone's behind. Anyways, when I told him yes he gave me a bewildered look while asking me how many miles I normally run up at the pinnacles, which I told him right now is typically 7 or 8 miles. His next comment confirmed my suspicion that I am definitely not normal when he asked, "And you do this for fun?!" Replying with a broad smile on my face I said, "Yes I do." 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Seeing Life as an Adventure

I acknowledge that my previous posts read like excerpts from a book; admittedly they were actually bits and pieces from a makeshift book I had been working on. I only posted those excerpts as a means of sharing my outlook on life, which has become the catalyst for my adventures. Let me clarify up front that I am not one of those adrenaline thrill seekers who jumps off cliffs on the weekends, but a regular type of individual who simply sees all of life as an adventure. What type of life adventures do I get myself into from time to time?  I had unexpectedly went rock repelling one day and had the thrill of experiencing my heart racing and stopping at the same time. I enjoy backpacking into the backwoods of Kentucky along traversing over mountains; in fact, I even got married on a mountaintop. I often find myself running long distances because of my curiosity of always wanting to know where a road or pathway leads to. My love of running led me to complete a marathon and now I am involved with obstacle racing (Spartan Races to be more specific). There was even a time when I engaged in public poetry reading; yes, hanging out with a room full of poets is an adventure. This is my life, as ordinary as I see it, its just that I enjoy engaging in a good challenge from time to time. My willingness to share was catapulted by others persuading me to do so therefore I shall.

Monday, August 26, 2013

An Extraordinary Life

An old saying claims life is not about the destination but rather the journey. This is so true because the steps in between tend to matter more and carry the fondest memories. Genuine meaningfulness in life is only found in our experiences and interactions with others along the way. When asked at her 103rd birthday the secret to living a long life Rosene Pierce started sharing the memories of her journey. She began sharing about the individuals who impacted her life and the moments they shared together. While she was sharing her stories it was interesting to note that she never mentioned anything about her wealth and prosperity. It was apparent Rosene was more appreciative of those she interacted with in her life than where her life had actually took her. Now there is nothing wrong with having a goal or a particular place in life we would like to achieve, like financial independence in Key West Florida, but our meaningfulness is only found in the steps it took to get there. For instance, take someone who has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. They always retrace the days of their journey more than the day they reached Mount Katahdin; in fact, most of them share they sensed a tone of bittersweet emotions when nearing the end of the trail because they hated to see their journey come to an end. What we need more than anything in our pursuit for meaningfulness is to start cherishing right where we are in life and embrace each moment before us. Hunter S. Thompson was an American Journalist who coined the style of journalism called gonzo. Gonzo journalism is when the reporter places himself/herself as part of the story where their experiences and emotions give an accurate depiction of the story being reported on. In his efforts to accurately report on the life of the notorious motorcycle gang, the Hells Angels, Thompson spent an entire year living and riding with the gang. The initial reaction would be to think Thompson was being reckless risking his life the way he did, but he later explained that life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” You see, a meaningful life is about the experiences along the way. Each person is geared toward activity one way or another regardless of their situation. There is nothing holding us back from enjoying the life we have. Craig Demartino experienced a rock climbing accident in 2002 resulting in the amputation of his leg. Today he is back to climbing mountain faces all over the world. Demartino was not going to allow a missing leg to hold him back from doing what he loved. You see, it is in our nature to press on and move forward regardless of our predicament. We are meant to stay busy and be productive, but when we fail to do so we experience dissatisfaction and frustration in our lives. Don't let today become tomorrow without enjoying what you have today, your life! Not someone else's, but your life. And since it is your life, plan on making it an extraordinary one. Not one ladened with ridiculous feats that never define who you really are, nor one in pursuit of fame and fortune, but one who defines who you are and no one else. Pursue your passion, no matter what it is, and you'll soon discover a fulfillment unlike no other.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Enjoying Life

Now is the time to start enjoying life. A good place to start is to stop looking for the bad in life and start looking for the good instead. Start by waking up each morning greeting the day with an enthusiastic hello and realize that, yes, each day brings a level of uncertainty. Then ready yourself to embrace whatever comes your way and decide to make the very best of every situation, even if you're facing your so-called everyday mundane schedule. Remind yourself every morning that each moment the day brings is an opportunity for experiencing life; remember, today could be your last day to experience life as we know it.The essence of truly enjoying life is to find what you love. When you discover what you love life will become worth the living. This applies in all avenues of life whether it is a person, a job, a hobby, or your family. It does not matter if it is the love of writing, bike riding, or astronomy, if there is no love in any area of your life you will certainly drink from the well of frustration, pain, and misery. Don't waste your time doing something you hate, or staying with someone you have a distain for! Life is way too short to waste it otherwise. When we discover what we love, and focus our energy on such things, we will experience a level of contentment beyond measure. When we are content in life we will begin enjoying life.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Life Under Our Noses

What we need to learn is how to embrace the life we have. It is an extraordinary life, and it is a life worth living regardless of our plight in life or whatever comes our way. It does not matter if you're a Wall Street day trader or a waitress, life can have meaning simply because you are living it. Each day presents itself with opportunities to experience life and every moment is wrought with life. It is when we learn to enjoy those moments that our lives will become meaningful. Too often we do not realize that we interact with life on a daily basis albeit through 
our activities or the people we meet, instead we waste our days away waiting for that big adventurous event to occur. What we do not realize is that those big adventurous events are only meaningful because of the people we interact with along the way. You see, we really should learn to slow down for people because they are the one's who make our moments beautifully meaningful. Unless we pay attention, we can easily overlook meaningful moments in our lives and miss life as it unfolds before us. When we begin seeing life as nothing short of extraordinary, and every moment is wrought with potential, we will soon discover our meaning in life. In order to genuinely discover our own meaning in life we need nothing more than to embrace the life we have and quit chasing someone else's. So often we find ourselves chasing someone else's dream. It's true. We dream of having their dreamy rich lifestyle and desire their extravagant possessions thinking all the while life will be meaningful if we just can just obtain what they have. This is nothing short of a pipe dream that will always leave you dissatisfied and unfulfilled in life. The Dalai Lama once said, "When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes, I already have everything that I really need.'" When you come to the point of embracing your life you activate something within yourself and you can begin enjoying your life along with discovering your meaning. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Balances of Life

There is no denying that life is precious beyond measure, yet it hangs delicately in the balances of chaos and peace. Living life is an extraordinary experience simply because it offers a variety between beauty and ugliness, safety and danger. Of all people Helen Keller would be the likeliest to experience the insecurity life has to offer. During her contemplation on life she once said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure." We can easily surmised at this point that life is not only precious, but precarious as well. Life offers us both the good and the bad, but our spoiled nature has learned to only be satisfied with the good life has to offer. We cringe and complain when facing a struggle in life and try with everything within us to avoid a more difficult path even though it may lead to a better place. We want it easy but life simply does not work out that way. Life is not fair and does not play favorites, but how we approach life is entirely up to us. When faced with the struggles and difficulty in life Helen Keller remarked, "Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." Each of us needs to realize that regardless of what life tosses our way we have it within us to overcome and move forward; it is in our nature to survive.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plenty of time for life to be too short

There is a way we can approach our lives and find the meaning in them that we desire. Try taking a different look at life as you typically know it today. Think for a moment about the vastness of 4 billion years. That is exactly 1,460,968,795,125 days. Now that is a whole lot of time! During that time a lot of activity transpired producing many different changes in our development. Look for a moment at just the past 2.6 million years, which is 949,630,000 days. During that vast amount of time we have advanced from using stone tools to sending people into outer space with little computers in their pockets. It is easy to conclude at this point that life is pretty grand. Now take a look at your time on planet earth. Statistically speaking, the average 
person has the potential of living approximately 80 years, which is only 29,219.4 days. The average person will sleep away 26.4 years of those 80 years shorting their waking hours down to a mere 19,577 days. Now toss in the no guarantee clause where tomorrow can deliver an unforeseeable and unfortunate life ending event, which can eliminate a significant number of days to those 80 years. At this point it is easy to conclude that in the whole grand scheme of everything life for us is just way too short. So here we stand against all odds living a life that will theoretically end in the blink of an eye, and yet many of us will waste most of it squabbling about insignificant idiosyncrasies that really do not amount to much. Instead, we ought to embrace and cherish each day before it passes us by, because once any particular day is spent, you can never get it back. Whenever we begin seeing our days in this particular view it should spark us to start focusing on what matters most to us. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Meaning of Life

People often wonder about the meaning of life. Why we are here? What is our significance? These are age old questions we often ask ourselves leaving us still puzzled by the end of each day. Philosophers have wrestled with these questions for years often suggesting life is summed up in goodness, virtue, and pleasure. Scholars have also had their fair share of input by narrowing the meaning of life down to the existence of god. It really does not matter which side of the fence one prefers here, and there is no claim to provide an answer to this age old question, but how someone defines the meaning of life can be reduced to their experiences. Joseph Campbell said it best when commenting that life is basically without meaning and we simply bring meaning into it. The meaning of life is basically whatever we ascribe to it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Life is Precious Beyond Measure

Something dramatic occurred over thirteen billion years ago when finite matter was squished by the extreme gravitational pressure of a black hole causing it to experience such intense heat that it started to expand. During this expansion phase it eventually started to cool formulating particles as it did. What eventually emerged was stabilizes structures known today as galaxies. Out in the midst of 300 billion stars we stand on a 4 billion year old terrestrial rock spinning at 67,000 mph around a molten plasmic life source. The odds of us standing here are 1 in 10^340,000,000 and yet here we stand. Life in general is rare and precious beyond measure, and life here on planet earth is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

While Charles Darwin was in the midst of his scientific research he made some startling discoveries concerning life and remarked to his sister in a letter, "A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life." Life is precious beyond measure, and quite astonishing in every respect. Life is also delicate, and with that, it carries a harsh reality reminding us tomorrow is never guaranteed. Sir Isaac Newton had impacted the scientific community with many of his discoveries including time being a fundamental physical quantity. In an effort to avoid bogging down the mind with the concept of time, we can easily surmise that it marches on without the influence of events. Relatively speaking time has its limits, so to say, and once today is gone we can never have yesterday back. Simply said, life is just too short and we should not risk wasting any part of it.