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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tools


If you're not into my hippy rants, x out quickly....





Awww, you're still here!!! Thanks for staying!!!


I was listening to a podcast... that should be the new name of this blog... anyway, listening to Joe and Aubrey and somehow Aubrey spilled out this quote above, and the conversation ensued.
It lingered around on my drive to work and I thought about it more, the root of it all.
Then I went in for one of my "therapy," sessions later that day and thought about it some more and had a fantastic visualization...
I had this view of maybe 12-20 people... I was above the stage but even with the curtain, so I could see the action on the stage as well as what was happening behind... I'd see people out and performing, but when they went behind curtain and out of the bright lights, their bodies and faces changed.
It was like a conveyor belt.... they'd circle around and come out and all these different bodies and shapes and faces and then when they went around back, everyone was the same shape and color and looked the same.
And it made me think deeper about this quote and empathy and how a few moves in one direction or another and we could all switch places, real quick.  Our lives are... whatever you just thought, but few moves can change everything.  Money can come and go like water. Health can come and go, we think we have a handle but we dont (I knew a 38 vegan triathlete who died of a heart attack last year).  Friends and loved ones, jobs, you name it... it can all fade away or triple in volume, we never know.  So this quote makes me think of empathy a little more and it caused me to slow down a few notches and treat people a little nicer... and I'm already a super nice guy! (insert smiley emoji).  So next time you encounter a grumpy douche  or someone who is just rude, maybe give them a little crap to settle them down but also know, they could be you.  In a different light, on a different stage, with some different luck or circumstances, that could be you.
On a real tripped out level, it is you.

Buuuuuuuuut...
Part two of where this thought took me was to a "witnessing," gear.  I started taking steps backwards and paying attention or reexamining some of the "therapy," I've been through... and I see it all as a tool.
Then I started thinking about this "tool," concept and accessible it all is, if we choose to use them intelligently and with an intent to truly improve ourselves.  And this isnt about sales or promos, but my recent massage with Audrey kinda helped get this rolling.  What a tool it is, to have such a skilled massage technician (is that the title?  I think it fits).  I told her the symptoms I felt, she went to work and I'm sooooo much better, so much stronger and more effective in day to day life, its unreal and crazy to ignore.  Same can be said for what I do and go through when I see Jared and receive an acupuncture treatment.  I tell him whats going on, he makes an assessment and bam, we're off.  What a unique tool he offers, to be able to work that magic and heal... with what?  Needles, knowledge and my body.
I think those two go very hand in hand.
Same with yoga but it was much more "me," as far as I didnt sit down and have an assessment and then a pro went to work on me... it was me going to work on me, which is a f'n incredible tool to tap into, even for just that one brief moment, someone calls a breakthrough.  Those "ah-ha," moments. Yes, as a tool, its used for whatever we choose.  But yoga and Buddhism always went hand in hand for me and has many branches of tools circulating, such as meditation and body awareness, so... it is what it is.

But then to pause our life-game and look at ourselves like a... wild, dynamic, alien monkey with this incredible computer brain that we really dont know much about... and looking at our lives and all these tools surrounding us.  Classes to learn, music to inspire or relax or motivate, social media to reach and share, computers to expand and grow our "database," nutrition to heal and improve...
I think too often, we go monday-tuesday-wednesday-thursday-friday-saturday-saunday-weekweekweekweekmonthmonthmonthyearyearyear oh shit, I'm 38... what have I done w my time?
When this question pops in your head, its a good thing, even if it temporarily makes you sad or depressed.  Because the questioning, hopefully, makes you start to see tools around you and start getting to work on....

---
Be useful, Be helpful, Be a Tool!!!
That would look nice on my stone :)
Awww too cryptic? Just wait til my next blog on April 5 (thats a hint, free hug if you text me the topic)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

He said/she said

(laptop was down so I pulled up the app and started writing random thoughts to finish once my laptop is back, which it is)

So I'm texting w/ a friend...

We're going back and forth about meeting up to workout and all that.  He says his workouts are ok, wants to introduce more of what I like to do and his nutrition is solid... back and forth, back and forth and eventually we come to an agreement that its the MRS in our homes that tank it for us!  (that's right and i guarantee every guy reading this agrees!)
So my question, what is it with dairy?  Everything can be rolling along just fine then BAM, "someone," needs cheese and sour cream.  Why?  I often say no cheese because I don't really taste it and don't see the benefit of having it (other than mexican).

------------------------------

Me and my daughters are driving through  a parking lot, looking for a Redbox.  As we drive, a car comes up the wrong way, cuts us off and "steals," a spot we were pretty clearly moving towards.  Talk about yoga being a great tool for life?  Do you know how hard it was for me to not roll a window down (imagine manual windows) and rip this person up?  Holy moly.  Instead, i used it as a teaching tool as what kind of person to not be.
Somehow these lessons followed us around.  As we walked in, two boys about 25 were in front of us.  They opened the door and stepped... think they held a door for a 10 year old girl or the old man (me)?  Nope.
THEN we're driving home and another car pulls in front of us at a red light like we werent even there.  It was a drive way where I would've let the person out anyway, once we made eye contact and a wave so they could see I wasn't moving anymore.  I eventually just told the girls that there was a crazy virus in air turning everyone into rude, mannerless monsters and we need to get home before we catch it.
Yes, they know I'm an idiot w analogies but jeez... Maybe it was the day or something, but I'm starting to wonder if this weather is turning people into assholes.

-----------------------------

I'm reading this new book on "tapping into your talent..." which I need to find first, anyway, but the first chapter said "Stare at your role model."  Study how they walk and talk...  Study how they move and their body language....
This immediately depressed me.... actually had to put the book away and pull it together before heading out to train some clients.
If you've been reading this longer than 6 months or so, you know my role model passed away on January 22, 2012 and I've been a real wimp about it all since.  Probably in a pretty unhealthy way too.  Setting football season aside, I can try to imagine he's still alive and I've been working on the whole "energy," thought from my last blog, that's been helpful... but I cant help but get super emotional about it.
Is it ok for your role model to be gone?
Someone text me "Hey i liked the energy stuff, especially for music."  He got it.  Thinking of Jimi Hendrix, he's gone but the music still lives, so he's still here.
Just hard to do when thinking about someone a little closer than a rock god from the 40 some years ago.

--------------------------------

Another friend text "Hey man, I need something positive."
My first thought was "shit... what do i have?" Not often that happens where its requested, usually it just slips out at a good time.
But i'm flipping through instagram and then the onnit page and then i see Joe Rogan, who is a bit of an inspiration these days.  Yup, the ole Fear Factor guy.  He's a but more than a comedian and UFC commentator, you should check out his podcast, preferably one with Aubrey Marcus, Graham Hancock, Alex Grey, Neil Degrasse (spelling).
Anyway, the quote was "Write down 3 things you want to improve.  Write down 3 things you wont tolerate from yourself.  Write down 3 things you never want to see yourself do again."  So 5 days later, this was my advice.

Improve
1 My overall health
2 My level of education
3 Relationships w family and friends

Things I wont tolerate from myself
1 Cutting corners (laziness)
2 Being involved in gossip
3 Accepting less than I deserve

Things i never want to see myself do
1 Beat myself up over things i truly cant control
2 Accepting anything but the life i see myself living
3 I never want to see myself not being a person of my word

(nice exercise, I'll expand in a future blog)

-----------------------------------

Another friend once text "I just want to teach yoga... somewhere off in Colorado... build a nice studio with state of the art heating system and towels for everyone... a scenic view (and I swear, as I'm reading this, I start to hear Kurt Cobains guiter puking all over this)... a scenic view looking out into the woods..." and on and on.
My thought was "how easy."
I want yoga where it's needed.  Schools, cities, i want it in a factory.
I want it to go back where it belongs, before stay at home moms and poshy little studios turned it into a fad and something to brag about on girls night.
I want it organic and real, taught by lifes warriors, people who are living and grinding, battling and surviving.  i want it here one minute and gone the next.... it'll taste better that way.
Counting on it never leaving?  it'll be taken for granted.
I see it like art and like life.  That was 8100.  It was never built to last forever, it was supposed to come and go.  It means more.

------------------------------------ 

I said
I dont see life as a path, a thin line heading in one direction or even zig zagging.... I see us circular.  Like a merry-go-round.  We come and go, we see things and move and see new things and move, then maybe we see it all over again, but different.
Like a wheel, and we're in the center.  We steer it and head into a direction, but so does everyone.  Think of the people who have come and gone in your life... then they come back and go again and on and on... are you headed down the same path?  Maybe, maybe not.
Is it because we attract events and circumstances? Maybe, maybe not.
Maybe we're on a ride... and if we acknowledged it, we'd be having a little more fun and things would be better.

---------------------------------

She said
i finally did it!
And I thought... this is what we all need, to push ourselves, every single day.  One day might be mental, one day might be physical, one day might be everything and completely overwhelming... but this is how we grow and evolve and I dont think theres much more important that doing just that.
Training is the obvious analogy to growth.  
Whats your weakness in life?  Where do you want to improve?  what are you plans to work on it?  How else can you grow?  To be full?  Like what I wrote above... its a ride... and what I wrote above that, it'll come and go.  So while you're on the ride, be great.
Motivation?  just that.   Be great.  how?  work at it.
Whats your "it?"  how will you know?  
you already do.  Stop talking yourself out of "it."
i want to travel more.
i want to see more live music.
i want to experience cultures and see everything.
how?  i'll work to make it happen.
dont be stagnant.
go back to school if you need.  I'm about to be 38... but I'm also a sophomore.  and it doesnt bother me at all, it actually excites me.  because soon, i'll be a junior and then a senior and then guess what?  Dreams turn into reality.
and then maybe I'll be ok to keep staring at photos of my role model and get back to working on that dream
Never mind school for a sec... Look at the list you wrote above... What's the plan to a better...?
To never...?
To not allow yourself to...?
dont give up
i know its hard.
Life has a way of f'ing us up sometimes... but pause and think of it as  a challenge, something knew i read.  "A warrior doesnt see good or bad, hard or easy, just challenges," and in the challenge is the lesson.
these lessons and challenges mold us.  who will you become?
it really is our own choice





Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Science Over Style/Energy Over Everything

(Writing this on my phone so please excuse typos or repeating thoughts, it's hard to read this as I pound away w my chubby thumbs).

I hear goals.
Then I hear "I want to..." or "I don't want..." in regards to lifts and loads.
In my head I think "the goals steered us over here... But the words that followed erased that and now took us there."
The problem lies in disinformation.  Magazines say one thing, and odds are, they're full of shit.  I think it's Women's Health that I follow on Facebook.  I clicked a few links to read their articles and completely disagreed w the entire article.  The next 3-4 I read were equally inaccurate.  
Fact:  our bodies respond differently to different loads and time under stresses (ie, the weight and/or actual time of reps per set).
Should you be lifting heavy?
Should you be lifting light?
Should it be fast or slow?
Yes, yes, and yes.
Programming and periodization has been destroyed by fad styles and catchy little boot camp studios.  Even the boots I ran, I always designed them to follow a specific program.  People think they need to be covered in sweat or too sore to walk, when both are irrelevant.  

"Cardio," is heart rate.  Doesn't matter what you're doing.  You burn calories at rest, doing nothing, so adding movement elevates the heart rate... Cardio.  Yes, might not be as intense as some would prefer, but that's not the point.   

Program.  Think in terms of gears.
I write programs on the fb page where I say "failing at 10," or another number.  That failure number designates the "gear."
Power/strength = 1-5
Hypertrophy/size = 8-12
Endurance = 15+
My programs, nothing makes sense if we're not touching all 3 gears.
"I don't want to get big."
It's not about "getting big," and lifting in that phase for 3 weeks won't do it.  What it's doing is, stunting the growth, shocking the muscles and breaking routine.  
How can you have endurance but no strength?
And vice versa?
That's not a very functional human to me.
Then, are you healthy?  Are you in pain?  Does your program address potential injuries?  
Point = in my opinion, your program must  have a rotation of phases, even if it's only primary lifts.  People love to argue this but it's science, not an opinion.  Feel free to borrow any of my NSCA texts and read it for yourself.

---------------

I said "well I'm kind of on a church tour."
They laughed, but it really is.  I'm pretty much checking out different churches, different religions, just to see and feel.  I'm not really looking to become a member or not, my goal is really to feel energy.  
This past Sunday, I really tried to talk myself into staying home.  But I thought "what will benefit me here over the next 90 minutes?" So I got dressed and headed to a service.
On my way, every was my thought.   Just to be in a room with a group of people, sharing and channeling energy, sounded really nice.
And it reminded me of yoga... Actually every Sunday reminds me of yoga.  Yes, I would often say "studios are my church," and meditation is my prayer... And the more I read and learn and open up about things... I think I'm right! (Go figure, right?)
Prayer to me, is quiet time, channelling thoughts and energy... Maybe in search for answers?  Guidance?  All depends I guess, but that's what I look for.  Meditation?  Same thing.  As we quiet and really work to quiet our own goofy voice and all the phones and televisions, and work, and world... Answers come to us.   They do.  
Yoga and church... A group of people, sharing energy, maybe similar energy, over time.   I can see where a pastor can be motivational or thought provoking unlike many yoga instructors, but if you're lucky, maybe you'll find an instructor that does the same.
Point is, I'm seeing similarities.  The flow of energy.
We meet people, we feel their energy.
A song, energy can passed or created.
An atmosphere, can change energy, create energy, expand it... It can be contagious.
If we're lucky, we'll be a part of energy that outlasts us.   Isn't that what memories do?  Conversations?  We say things, and we're gone. Our words, our energy, floats around.  One day when we're @ home behind the sun... The vapors of our energy can still make a difference.
Maybe WE ARE just energy, trapped in this flesh and skeleton, blood and oxygen w this wildly untapped, under-used, computer between our ears.  Just bodies as tools to maneuver, experiment, enjoy...  

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To be honest (as if that hasn't happened yet), I strongly urge you to dive into new realms of self exploration.  New ideas, or maybe old that you dismissed, of therapies and ways to tap into a new line of thinking. (Are you paying attn to my posts?) And when/if you do, don't be afraid of the truth you find there.  There's happiness there.  
  



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Let Me Clear My Throat

Ever hear that song?  Love it!  I've been playing it pretty much everyday since about 2 weeks ago, and ironically, I've had a little lump in my throat that I need to "clear."
(the tone of this one actually isn't a party anthem, its a more Eminem or Public Enemy but whatever)


So you may have felt a negative vibe off my posts recently, I did, but I couldn't 100% shake it off.  If you've read everything just in 2015, this blog might have actually turned you off or left you thinking "this dude is weird and depressed," (I'll still proudly hold the weird title).
This week it hit me... I knew it, but I was able to find separation (finally) and see it as it truly was - A horrible relationship.
I'm talking about one of my former jobs.
I posted "2 weeks ago, my anxiety was "oh god... It's Sunday... I have 5 straight days of..." a job I actually enjoyed, the people... my friends and coworkers, I miss very much, but the atmosphere was toxic.  Truly.  Mgmt and ownership created an environment of fear, anxiety, distrust and panic.  And I wasn't quiet about it.  Throughout my time there, coworkers would vent to me and I would approach mgmt with their issues (with their permission, anonymously).  Ignored.  I would ask to open communication between the "pawns and elite," as it was referred to by certain members of mgmt (imagine that), and it was shut down with "if you don't like it, leave," responses.

It made me see things differently... I know I have a hippy heart that fights with the brain and body that's been placed here, I know I have conflicts because of it, but this just didn't feel like a reality to me.  I feel, no matter who we are, where we work, what our jobs are, there's still decency and respect between us, no?  For most of us, what we do for work is not who we are, so why be a dick?  Not here.  "The king rules, if you don't like it, leave," was told me too many times.
But I didn't leave.  Instead, I continued to fight for what was right, what was logical and for coworkers.

This is where I started to pray, as I eluded to in the last two entries.  I prayed for answers, relief, help... and it happened.

A guy called me and basically said "Hey, do you want to come back to being you again?"
But a part of was addicted to fighting with these other people...
But I sat there and said to myself... "Hey dumbass!  You asked for answers, relief and help... here you go."
And I left and started a new job.
So now on Sundays, I'm thinking about programs we can run to help people instead of dreading being 1 minute late and getting "1 point," as a penalty and then sitting on some dumb conversation about "well, you've been late twice now in the last 6 months..." as I'm daydreaming of that scene in Fight Club where Ed Norton beats himself senseless.  I'd think "This guy is telling me how to work? Am I on a television show?"

Point?
Looking back, I didn't realize how damaging that job was, how much it effected everything I was doing.  Being treated like a "pawn," by people that really couldn't hang in real life situations, very weak characters who I feel enjoyed keeping me ion the position they did (it was personal), beat me down a bit.  I definitely had to get out before it sunk me, before it completely swallowed my drive and soul.  I wondered "was this job so depressing and stressful, it ruined my enthusiasm in Mentor?"  I think so.  Was this job so stressful and depressing it effected some contracts and made me want to quit everything?  Yes.  I cancelled classes because I was so upset dealing with the issues that surrounded the actual job, I just wanted to go home and go to sleep... that's not healthy.  It truly feels like I was walking around in a room w low ceilings and couldn't stand up straight, and now, I'm upright and tall again.  I wake up excited again.

If you're in a position like this, working a job you dislike or making someone money you dislike (who makes sure to shove his purchases in your face often), you have to work to fix it (as I did for too long) or to be aggressive in finding new work.  Just as a relationship, if you're unhappy, you have to work to fix it or leave.

Now, I'm knocking off some rust and just taking one more step toward improving my life and living exactly how I envision.
The day I quit, I sat there going back and forth, almost trying to talk myself into staying in my seat.  I walked to the men's room and looked in the mirror... Literally fighting back some emotions... My onnit "One Day as a Lion," T shirt popping out of my button down.  
Never looked back.  

(Sidenote:  No, this isn't some "get on the internet and blast a former employee rant."  If it was, I could go on A LOT more.  My feelings were not a secret, this is the analogy (work to life to relationship to life to work) and finishing the post I started a few weeks ago.)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Open

If I didn't tell this story, I think I'd be cheating myself out of the entire reason I write this blog.


Some details I need to keep vague for the sake of others privacy.



If you've read the last couple blogs, maybe you could sense my own transformations going on.  I wrote in detail about my physical goals but only generally about everything else.  Reason... I really don't know.  I'm private but I share so I really don't know why.  

Anyway... I've been challenged over the last 6-12 months.   Challenged in a way I never have and from multiple angles.  I've been out of balance, upside down and in a fog.
Often my entries were a mirror of my own self, shooting back at myself.  My posts were reminders to myself.  Much of my own behavior was laced w messages of motivation, again to myself.
In the "we are connected," thought, you felt it, I probably wrote things that you related... Because we are all connected and although our paths may be different, we have similar needs and desires.  

Let's get to it... I'm stalling.

I was in New Jersey a couple weeks ago, this is where I wrote "Where I Am."  We were headed to a location, listening to a radio program, sports talk.  Somehow the conversation turned to talks of ghosts and then spirituality.   One guy, I think his name is Gerard Cherry?  He told a story of when he thought he may be on his way out of the league and he went home and prayed, within a minute, the New England Patriots called him and offered a spot.  So, keep in mind, I heard this story already on the edge of some sort of faith or a desire to learn and explore a faith... Something was pulling... Something I didn't really have. 

Growing up, (by growing up I mean 20's and 30's, who are we kidding to think we're done growing up at 22), my faith was "be nice and everything will work out," and thoughts of karma.  I rarely looked up and spoke.  (When I posted this week about belief and believing in the power of attraction or prayer or anything, this was the reference).

So after hearing Gerard's story (I'm sorry, I don't actually know his name), I went back to my room... Turned off all distractions and knelt on the ground and prayed. 
I prayed hard.  I read to be specific and to talk and communicate.  I text my sister and asked her if there was a protocol.  Haha so funny, I felt that foreign, that out of myself, I couldn't figure out "how to pray."
But I knelt and I prayed like I never have.  I asked for help.  I asked for guidance.  I asked for a sign.   I ended and still end by saying something along the lines of "I'm open to change, I'm open to learning, I'm open to hearing."  Prayed so hard I cried and basically begged... Because I was that unhappy w a situation I was in (not related to training, real estate or my personal life).
Within 2 days... I receive a text from an old friend, offering an "idea," that changed my life.  One that I cannot reveal just yet, but when I do, you'll see and say "that's his world... That's where he belongs," and how perfect the timing of it all is.
Coincidence?
Someone may say so.
Power of my thoughts or the power of attraction?  Did I communicate a message to the universe?
Maybe.
Prayer?
Maybe. 

Interpret it however you like, but this story is true.  Plug in whatever element of powerful faith you have.
From a movie opening my mind, to hearing a story of a miracle, basically, to me putting those thoughts into the physical act of asking or help... Help and light appeared. Fact. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Privilege, not Punishment

I was sitting here and a friend walks up and says "Is it ok if I have Chipotle?"  Pretty popular question.
I ask "What are you putting on it?"
"Chicken, steak, cheese, sour cr-"
And I cut her off and ask "What are your goals?"
"I hate you, I love you, don't talk to me," and she's gone.  A very popular response.
 She knew the meal didn't match her goals.

But it didn't stop here.

As the morning moved along, I could hear her being heckled by one of the guys, taunting her with Chipotle, the usual teasing that occurs when someone is trying to watch what they eat.  I could hear and see she was getting annoyed and might cave in, so I sent a note.

"Be proud of the mission your on.  Not eating junk food isn't a punishment, its a great thing to have the mentality and discipline to keep on the tracks.  Power over your decisions and yourself is true power."

I added later, "It's a privilege to be able to make great choices, not punishment."

And as time moved along, about a week, it's stuck in my head and helped me out.  It's hard to not feed certain urges, certain habits, and it truly is a gift to be able to say no. 
To say no skipping class, to say no to sleeping in when you should be getting up, to say no going out when you should be studying, to say no to that meal that you know isn't going to help you reach your goals. 
It's not about fitness or workout goals, its about life goals, its about living and holding yourself to a certain standard. 
I wrote in my last blog about feeling sloppy and this thought is the remedy, the cure.   This is the discipline that you should wear as your badge and let your results speak for themselves. 
"Yes, I am dedicated, I became...." and fill in the blank.

I became....
(Fill in the blank) and ask yourself, what is it you're trying to become? 

When we were young, the question was "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  then it faded in the real world and a lot of us forgot to continue asking and working towards it.  
You may have noticed a theme lately in my blogs and posts (and I feel the need to always write, "I'm not preaching, I'm sharing what I'm going through in hopes someone can relate and is nodding along,") but it's always about silencing the bullshit and still being able to hear the whisper... hear that voice telling me where  to go and what to do and once I'm there, I'm already ready. 
Your journey is the road of preparation.  If you're following your voice, once you get there, it'll feel like home and you'll already know why you're there and what you're there for.

It cant be forced.  It cant be faked.   

So if your road is challenging... if it feels too hard to handle and you ever want to quit, if you ever want to give in and go...you have to know... you are the only one that can handle your road! 

It's a privilege to be a grinder, to be relentless, to not have a quit button.  It's a privilege to be who you are meant to be.     

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where I Am

(just a heads up, this is definitely not a fitness entry and its going to be scattered and religious)


I recently saw two movies that left me... humbled... wondering... asking questions, more questions... wanting to learn and wanting to step back to watch, to witness.
American Sniper - From a movie review stance (and I wont give anything away for those who haven't seen it), it's perfect.  Like Heath Ledger's Joker, you really don't see Bradley Cooper, you see Chris Kyle and all the elements that we as viewers are here to see.  Again, I wont dive too far in because I dont want to ruin the movie.  But Bradley Cooper is amazing, Clint Eastwood is the greatest film director and the story is absolutely incredible.
For me, I wasn't in awe of his stats (although he was an incredibly gifted marksman, if that's an appropriate term)... I ended the movie feeling how I've felt a lot in the past year or so, but more intense...
To be honest, I kind of felt sloppy.
The word "standards," have been ringing around my head... Manners... decency... respect... discipline... doing the right thing... saying the right thing at the right time, being truthful... having higher standards.. being simple and true.
Simplicity is under-rated.
Discipline has become a negative word.
I don't know... I'm writing, but I still cant wrap my head around how the movie left me, other than wanting to be better.  Wanting to be a better version of who I am.
When I wrote "thoughts from a roadside rest stop," a few months ago, I remember feeling similar but not this intense.... as I get older, I see more and more people leaving this world that we should have and could have learned more from and it makes me uncomfortable.  Time.

The other movie... The Passion of the Christ.
I know its older, but I never saw it and always wanted to.  Again, another movie that has left me, as I wrote above, wondering and asking questions.


I took a comparative religion class many years ago at Lakeland.  At the time, I thought it was the most impressive class I ever signed up for and I think I got an A or a B, I enjoyed the class.  At the time, I enjoyed how the teacher pretty much called "Bullshit," on every religion possible.  Now, I see that he was simply placing his own slanted view on us and I bought it.  He was saying things that I wanted to hear, back then.  Classes would go on and he'd point out parallel stories between the books and religions and paint them as fairy tales.

Now I see that yes, there are similarities and parallels but for different reason.
I know over the years, I've said and written a lot of "hippy stuff," that was influenced by my Buddhist readings and beliefs and would smirk at those who would try to throw their Jesus at me. But now, with what I've recently read, I'm taken back to that class at Lakeland, and I'm seeing the similarities from a new perspective  That Jesus and Buddha were different people, but both were very real with a very similar message(s), coming from a very similar state of mind and approach, one of enlightenment.
Their goals were the same.
I don't see how we can accept one and not the other as our reality.
Is prayer not the same as meditation?
Is the "power of attraction,' not the same as prayer?

I've never taken credit for anything positive I've ever said or did, I've written that a bit over the last year and now I see why.  Even now when teaching yoga, I've admitted all the time when the conversation comes up about something I said or something we did, I'll say "I don't know where it came from," or that "I lucked into it."  Now I see why.
So many times in speaking with young kids, trying to deliver a message of motivation and wake them up to something great, I never knew what I was going to say in advance and I could never really remember it after, now I see why.
When your eyes are closed, all you can see is darkness.

I've learned through meditation and books and podcasts and apps that a goal is to quiet the chatter in your head so you can hear your inner voice... right?
Reminds me of a short story I heard a little while back, I think it was from an Aubrey Marcus podcast -
Our God was to available to too many, too easy to find and man began to take advantage and request too much.  So God said "I'll hide in the mountains, they'll have to work to find me here," and very quickly, very easily, God was found.  He then said "I'll hide in the oceans, man can't find me there."  But again, man found a way and God was found.  God thought about it and said "I know, I'll hide in the clouds," but again, he was found.  Finally, God said "I know the one place they'll never think to look... they'll search the land and sea, they'll create technology to search for me while they sleep, they'll form armies to search every village and every country and they'll never think of it... I'll hide in their hearts."
So my wonder was just that... Is prayer, is meditation a way to quiet all of the distractions around us, to hear the God that lives inside of us?