Thursday, December 29, 2016

Who's the Crazy Guy Talking To Himself at CVS?

We'd end a session and hours later receive a text, something like "Good workout, thanks."  My reply would usually be "Strong Work!" and something else about the session.
Then I dropped of some free passes to a friend who started her own business and it was kinda cool walking out and seeing her name on the front.  I sent a text a while later, "Strong work..."

Stepping through a barrier, like an invisible curtain, we see a goal or a vision and we wonder, "Can I...?"
"Can I Step through?"

And if you do, when you do, when any of us decide to, we can turn around and look back at what was, peaking back through the curtain we walked through to become who we currently are, and have new perspective.  A new line of vision, an experience.

Maybe that's the curtain, experience.  You have to go through it to have the vision.

For anyone brave enough to change their momentum, to risk  what they think they have, to gamble with their heart... strong work.  None of it is easy and no one can know you're path and feel what you feel but you.

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

I was standing in line at a CVS, waiting on a woman in front of me to be taken care of by the cashier.  It was a bit busy, seemed a touch under-staffed, when an employee came frantically shuffling in, "I'm here!  I'm here!," apparently late.  She then raised her candy proclaiming "I walked in with this, I am not buying it here, this is mine!  This is mine!"
And a couple things about her behavior sent me into spectator mode, but nothing more than hearing someone yell "This is mine!"
It sounded childish.
Then I started talking to myself...

Why is that childish?
Well, who yells like that?
Maybe she was in trouble once for taking candy.
No, who yells something is theirs?
Oh, here we go... 
Nothing is yours.
Please stop...
Well, it's true.  Think about it.
I'm really, really tired of thinking about it.
Well, just know nothing is yours.
Nothing?  Really?
Just your consciousness.
And mind.
Eh, depends.  Some people have one but lend it out to others, so
So this is... a bullshit conversation.
Say what you like.  Our bodies are on rental, just as our minds.  When we go, what's "ours?"
So how do you know our consciousness continues?
Don't-don't, don't bother answering, I've had enough!


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

"What do you want for Christmas?"
Might be immaturity, might be an obsession, might be boring, might be nerdy, but my answer hasn't changed in 25 years.
"Anything Pearl Jam or Penn State," and we can add Star Wars as well, I recvd a really nice Storm Trooper bee coozy this year.

This year, when anyone asked what I asked for, I hesitated because my first answer was "Time."
How can I receive more time?
Yes, bills are important so I need money, but I really need time.
You know when you play a video game and you can drive the car over that "15 SECS," marker and BAM, you added 15 bonus seconds to your score?  That's what I was looking for.
Maybe its being 39 or maybe its that I've walked through a good handful of those mystery curtain I referenced up top... but to have control of seconds would be a wonderful super power.  To turn it back, to add to it, to make changes, to see more clearly... ultimate mindfulness with clarity of space and time.... sounds like  float tank experience actually.

That curtain idea... there's something there.  Walking through, looking back, cleaning off, being new, everything that curtain can do, it gives perspective on time.

I wonder, its about to be 2017, what kind of culture are we now?
What kind of tribe am I near?
Are our eyes looking up or down?  Are we optimistic?  Or scared?
Are we still looking externally for answers?
That's the great irony of my job, right?  
Sooooo many people have come to me requesting to be changed on the outside, 
(and I fully respect the clients wishes), but you know my aim is internal.  

It's an inside job... but who is still sleep walking through this thing thinking their time is unlimited?  Again, the beauty of time is we'll never see our clock.  It really is the joy of life and acceptance of death, right?  Isn't that why we're searching for our lives have purpose?  Or supposed to be?
My purpose... Sometimes I don't know because it seems secondary.  I'm not the guy, but I might be the guy that's going to inspire thee guy, to make the great shit happen.  I like that.

Someone sent a pic the other day that read something like "A coach will effect more lives in one year than most will their entire lives."
At first I blew it off "Eh, none of this is that big," but then I stopped talking to myself like an asshole and accepted it.  Yes, its true and pretty f'n awesome.  I saw it like a pyramid, and I'm no where near the top, I'm deep in the middle.  With anyone who inspired me, touching me and then me passing it on and then they pass something on and so on.  And we're all a part of this breathing, living, organism of inspiration and positivity... That's pretty wild to think of, right?  So the more connected I am, the more aware I am, the better I am, the better the soil and seed.  And we all have that.  We all have that possibility.  We all have our own avenues to spread what we feel is important.  I spread my thing, you spread yours, if its all good stuff, then its all good stuff and we all win.   Sound good?  When everyone's successful, everyone's successful, we don't need to find for sun shine, there's plenty for everyone.  And I don't need a payback.  I don't need an IOU.  I just need you to keep passing it along.  Whatever someone does for you, your debt is to anyone you ever touch, not just the guy who gave you $10.  Right?  Someone hooks me up, I owe him and than anyone near me, it's energy.
You light me up, I'm not going to hog the light, I'm going to share it w you and you and you.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Get Some

Imagine it's a TV show, right?  It's a sci-fi... no, it's a sci-fi/comedy/tragedy/indie flick... and you're the star.
And we're on this enormous rocket of sorts... a great round rocket, flying through outer-space.  And we're on this journey towards another place, cruising at thousands of miles per second, not entirely sure we'll make it with our fuel and everything else on board.  We know its out there, we have faith we'll find it, but we just dont know for sure.
Things happen, right?  People on the rocket fight or get along, its wild.  Sometimes its all good, sometimes its chaos.  An occasional meteor skips past us and "Whew, close call."  Every now and then, some wild man tries to take over the rocket and screw us all over, but good always prevails at the end of the episode.
Then you have that one scene... the big moment.. and you forget your line.
Producer comes in "CUT CUT CUT! You F'd that all up, do it again!"

All of that is a true story, except the producer part. There are very few second takes here and no one is popping to save your ass if you're not ready.

This is life.
And life is like a coach, loaded with lessons and coaching moments to pay attention to.  Sometimes in coaching, the "player," is resistant.  A player can sign up for game or sport, they want to play, but they don't want the coaching.  They think they know a better way.  This is life.  Very rarely, does a player behave this way, resistant, and turn out being right.  This is the point of the coach (life).  To show the lessons, to highlight a path, the player must see it, understand it and trust the path.  The coach can even let the player fail, to learn the lesson.  If the player doesn't learn, it will be retaught again.  And again, and again, until the player learns the lesson, learns the way and trusts the path.
All in all, the player cannot move forward to D, E,  and F, until the ABC's are learned, understood and mastered.  If player cannot handle the basics, they certainly are not equipped to move on and handle anything bigger or more complex.
The path that is referred to is your intuition.  This is what life is trying to shine light on.  How many times have you been questioned or in a situation and you knew the answer, but some goofy voice steered you elsewhere?  And when it was said and done, you thought "sob... I knew the answer, I just didnt trust myself."   So how do you know it when it speaks to you?  How do you know the difference between intuition and desire or greed, intuition from want?  Or intuition vs fear and safety or comfort?  Even intuition vs what looks like the obvious answer?  Sometimes the answers are right there but we question it.  Right?  We really like laying in bed with comfy sheets and pillows, but not much happens there... well, you know what I mean.  We have to get up.  So that voice that says "Hit the snooze," he's a lazy shit voice.  Which is why its vital to wake up and move your body.  Wake up, breathe, move, stretch, get that computer out of sleep mode.
I've learned you can't tell people to "follow your instincts," if they don't know how to hear them or even know when they are communicating.


I believe this is a very gray area and one I'm still challenged with.... or my intuition is ker-aaaazy, as anything.  99% of the time, I feel very solid and comfortable with my intuition, but there is that 1% where that inner monkey wants out and now.  That monkey is a Jimi Hendrix, Dennis Rodman, Jim Morrison animal.  So I ask "Will this hurt myself?  Will this hurt anyone or anything else?"  If those questions are safe, I'm good to go.  

Movement is medicine for the soul.  Science will absolutely show you how x time with your heart rate at y will release some delicious feel good brain chemicals and give you that high or body buzz.  Doubt that?  bickeljason409@gmail.com for a session or yoga class, anytime, I'll show you.  Now, I dont have the education to articulate the actual connections, but I know this because I've lived it.  I often reference or write about certain "therapies," and I roll them into one conversation for a couple different reasons.  
For your instincts and intuition to be on point more often than not, your brain must be awake and alive and active.... AND then it needs to reboot and flush out bullshit and learn new programs and reinstall a fresh anti-virus.

Just as life is coach, so are we.  The books we read, the shows we watch, the people we surround ourselves with... all coaches.  What can be learned?
Trust, empathy, love, pleasure, kindness, to be open minded, on and on.  Creativity, caring, etc.  But you have to be open to the coaching.  If you dont see it and learn it and feel it now, thats because you're not paying attention of maybe you need some better coaching.   Could be, I think thats honest.  Thinking of a football field, I've seen coach A fail with a guy and coach B succeed.  No ones fault at all, some people just learn differently.  Some prefer books, some documentaries, some a Jimi guitar solo.  
What you learn, how you see it, is completely up to you.  You can see this ride with yourself as a passenger or the driver, maybe both at times.

What I know is this.... never stop moving, thinking, listening, challenging yourself, sweating, loving, dancing, helping.  Life is a plant, a tree, with berries and fruits and many different flavors to be picked and sampled.  Say yes.
I'm 39 and still learning every single day.  I actually think I've accelerated greatly over the last 5-8 years.  In your 20's, you're kind of still cruising through that young momentum, pretty much following that path someone else sent you on.  Then you hit a little turbulence where you go "Oh shit... I didnt know _____," and traffic patterns change.  Then you're in your 30's trying to re-figure it out or figure out exactly what you're comfortable with or becoming, which why i tell young people to travel early, meet people, see things, school isnt going anywhere, none of it is.  Anything you want, will always be available.  If you want it and its right, it'll be there when you want it, how you need it (learn).  When you're in your 40's.... how the shit would I know?  But dont think for a second I'd say "When I'm 49, I'll be ______," because i'll be way off.  I might be running 6 gyms, I might own a yoga studio, I might be sitting in a jungle in South America, or maybe I wont be here at all.
All we have is NOW.  Tomorrow is a maybe.


(Want a free drug tip?  Sit in front of a laptop, with a blog app and Jimi blaring away... some wild shit might pop out.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Just Say Yes


When I'm feeling it, I pause and look around and wonder where the possibilities are.  They're here/there, always around.  But if you're staring at a phone or your feet or some troubles you're imagining for the future, you'll never see them floating right past you.
And then you'll never be exposed or open to new thoughts or a new idea, a new person or a new experience. You'll just keep circling around the same shitty momentum you're riding right now... a skip-skip-skipping record.  Blah.

I vote to say yes.  Whatever it is.  Next thing that pops up, tell that annoying little buzz kill voice to shut the hell up and say yes.  And don't question that decision.  Like riding the coaster... you got in line, you entered the car, your strapped in... no sense in questioning right or wrong now, better enjoy this and dive in.
Have a new experience.  Saying no, does what?  It just shuts off possibilities.  Saying yes, opens them up.  Saying no, ends the conversations, ends the opportunity of new, of learning and experiencing something unique.  Saying yes however, does the opposite.  Anything is possible in yes.  Zero is possible in no.
Think of it like the water hose in your yard.  No = no water, no fun.  We'll just sit and twiddle our thumbs.  Yes, however... imagination.  We can play in that, we can make believe and have fun.  We can fill up a pool or a slip n slide.  We can water grass or plants.  We might make a mess too, but we'll never know if we said no.  We might waste a lot of water, but we'd never know if we said no.  But we'll have fun and learn, right?  If we screw it up and flood the yard and waste it, we now know.  which is the opposite of... no.  
No doesn't know anything.  No just knows habit and fear of the unknown.

Heard Aubrey use this term, "pleasure monkeys," and I laughed because it reminded me of broken monkeys... thinking of ourselves as an evolved chimp is just more fitting than anything else.  But he was referring to all the "pleasure buttons," we have installed in us and how hard we work to say no to them.  To feel guilty about them.  A lot of us have been raised to feel guilty or fearful or weird about our pleasure buttons.  I know many people who are awkward in their own bodies and cant let that guard down, anywhere.  You'd be amazed.
Myself, about 80% of my life, I've been really ok saying fuck it and let it fly.  My moments or phases where I didnt, it was because I was living with fear.  Without fear, there's no no's.  Without fear of loss, fear of "without," without fear of death... there's perspective.  And its a wiggly route to find that view.  But you can... want to know where it is?  I wont write about it, but buy me a couple IPA's and probably right around #3, I'll tell you allllll about it.


If I stopped writing these bizarre thoughts, you might think everyone around you is "normal."
And normal us boooooooooring.
The crayola 8 color box sucks.
I want the 64 set.
And then melt a handful of them to create a brand new thing.

Nothing feels quite this good...
This thing is a damn animal.
I've found maybe 2-3 things in life that can even come 
close to entering this level of wow... 
You know... I wrote all those soul thoughts a bit ago and just wrote that last one...
and its kinda all along the same lines, right?  
Finding, accepting and then releasing the real you, right?
You get that part?
So I watch this... and I really don't see a human.  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Suicide & Love

One of those -Stare at the screen thinking of the best to get after it- kinda moments...

I posted this pic
With this caption
Lost myself for a minute there... people starting babbling about $100,000/salary and my ego went bonkers, tried to flush my whole self down the drain and create a new thing.
Day 1, I thought "hm, this is the opposite of what @thedolcediet did..." (Mike left 6 figures to roll the dice on his dream job, and won). Took me about 2 weeks of panic attacks to admit I screwed up.
Lesson: well, first I need to read my own damn blogs. It was all right there, I just ignored it.
Second: you absolutely have to, have to, hafta, work a job that makes you wake up wo an alarm. A job that drives you. A job you'd work even if the money wasn't there. You have to find and work your passion and let the chips fall wherever they may.
I didn't need $100,000 5 years ago, I don't need it now. Don't worry about you bank acct, worry about your heart acct. worry about how you're filling that up and you'll be set for life. There's your retirement plan.

And in the beginning I said I'd never censor myself and I'd share everything, but I didn't follow through.  Instead, I wrote very abstract and dropped clues along the way.  I think partly the "views," got in my head and I tightened up a bit.  If you know 200+ are about to read you're crazy ass thoughts, some of those being minors, you cant help but weigh your words.  
But, if I kept it all, if we kept it all and didnt share, how would we learn?  
How would we learn from each other?
Or know we can relate to each other?
Things might get mighty lonely.  
So here is a true story... zero censorship.

---------

As some of you may know, I work for Titans Gym.  Right now, I run marketing & promotions for all 4 gyms (Mentor, Cleveland, Twinsburg & Streetsboro), so its a pretty full, fun job.
One thing I try to do often, is connect us with like minded, useful businesses.  I look for ways to create benefits for members in their community, things like coupons or discounts with their membership card.  Basic things like that.  So with being downtown and Lakewood just 5 minutes away, I contacted the Float center there (Optimal Wellness Center).  As most of you know, I've been "floating," for a little while (a little over 3 years I think), fairly consistently given my schedules and drive time, I guess.  I've found tremendous benefits there, but I've also had some scares (more on that later).
So I email inquiring about a possible partnership, benefits flowing in both directions, etc., just to test the waters... no pun intended.  

Within a day, somone responds and we set up a time to meet.  

Now, those of you who know me, you know there's very little I do that's "normal."  My personal training isn't what you'd expect, my yoga isn't what you'd expect, my coaching on the football field definitely isn't what you'd expect, on and on.  So this business mtg.. I think it was a very pleasant surprise for both of us.  Started off talking about a business alignment and what seemed to be a brief 20 minute thing, turned into a conversation about Ben Harper, life after death and psychedelics.  

Ummm what did you just say?
Hang in there... 

Now the story detours and connects with my above post.
I'm offered a job, kind of recruited.  I'm brought in, there's an interview process of sorts, and flashed some serious earning potential... something I've never really thought about.  
I've never made much money.  I've always had a very strange relationship with money.  I see it, I see its need, but I also think it's over-rated.  I also now know there's nothing I can do about how we value it, sad but true.  
So I leave the gym and personal training to head off on this new golden trail of dollar signs, "You can f around and make $70,000," was all I had to hear.  
The day 1 I wrote about above in the post, that was an actual thought.  Because twice per week, someone would come in and speak about our goals and what motivates us.  Really, really good speakers too.  The kind of guys that could make great high school coaches in some way.  
Problem was, they wouldn't shut up about goals and motivation and it effected me... because my goals were never money.  My motivation was never a bank account.  Had I been left alone in an office to perform x job, I may have stuck it out.  But they just couldn't stop asking me "What drives you?  What motivates you?  What is your dream?"

My dream is, was and will probably always be, to teach.  I want to be a teacher.  I currently am a teacher, just not in a school.  But yes, I want to teach in a school too.  Just two nights ago, I was playing a game with Livi, my 10 year old where I have to pretend to be her age and she interviews me.  She asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  A teacher.  Then I asked her the same... "Happy."  

So through a series of texts, emails and a mtg., I head back to Titans... but this time, with some insight and renewed energy.  I felt what it was like to work solely for a paycheck and it was empty, for me.  If anything it gave me more empathy for those who haven't found their thing yet, or those who know their thing but cant do it yet.  I see how lucky I am to do what I do and have the opportunity I have.  

Then, two days back on the job, I get another email from the wellness center, same girl from before, asking if I'm free to meet Dr. Jordan this week. 
I am.  
I knew nothing going in.  I never really research anything before a mtg., I dont want to create a story or a picture at all, I want it all to play out as natural as a couple guys sitting at a bar.  

The room reminded me of my old yoga room... cozy, wood paneled flooring, but a sectional couch on one end.  This is where we sat.  
We talked about exchanging website links and discounts between us involving the float tanks and gym memberships.  As we went on, he would reference a book, classes and appointments.  I asked "What else goes on here?" and he kinda laughed and said "well... theres a lot to that," and he told me his history.
And as he spoke, telling his story, he was telling me everything I 've ever thought... all the crazy shit I thought I daydreamed one day, he teaches it.  He may have seen me staring at him, like Luke watched Yoda (if you dont get that reference... ugh!) But I did... I had to tell myself "blink idiot!  Stop staring, glance around, look natural..." as he went on and on.  
Kind of a frustrated chiropractor... he would fix and re-fix and basically eventually said "I need to find how and why this happening," so he redirected his efforts to the roots of it all.  Movement, nutrition and how emotions and the mind-body connection can heal, repair, prevent and create.  

See why I was in awe?  How many times have you heard me reference this or talk about it?
I finally found a guy to say it in front of me, not a book written in India.  

I asked him "How do you keep your energy up?  Or how do you re-energize?"  This is an issue I've always had and why I've stopped teaching yoga, start again, stop again, etc.  Even in coaching or training, I've struggled to re-load my energy, I soak up too much.  Even around people that have tress, drama or pain, I feel it and it drains me... I cant figure out to reload.  

Then I asked ""Do you ever feel bad charging money?"  Another major issue I've had and one reason I closed the yoga room (or so I thought... keep reading).  He laughed and asked "Do you feel bad breathing?  Isn't there enough air for us all?"
Me: Yes, but I feel its just something I'm good at and I can give it away or teach people to do it without me.
Dr. J:  Why are you judging how the best way for them to continue?  If you stopped charging money, you'd have to find money elsewhere... which would give less time to train and less energy to give to your clients.
I dont mind being wrong and was happy he shed light on this for me, so I told my story about leaving the gym for money.  Pretty much the same thing I wrote above. 

He leaned in and asked "How often do you think about suicide?"
The room seemed to get dead silent. 
Even with a 3rd person in the room, I didn't hesitate.  
Often. 
Dr. J:  How far do you go?
Me:  I'm still here.
Dr. J: Your behavior, is suicidal.  You've consistently created situations where you'll hurt yourself.   How long has this been happening?
Me:  As long as I can remember.
Dr J: Why?

I don't want to quote what I said because the order of things gets a little shaky trying to remember it exactly... things were intense.  But I told him "I never feel home," and "I always feel like I'm looking for my tribe," something a shrink said to me a long time ago.  
I've left everything at some point, blaming myself or something odd, for it not working.  Jobs, people, friends, schools, teams, gyms, you name it.  I've either left or created an environment where they had to remove me (I am mostly referring to my younger days).  

He explained that its a reoccurring pattern and something I do, I have done and will continue to do until I can adjust and see it in a proper perspective.  "Your problem is you deny your level of consciousness. You hold it back and down and it needs to be free.  That's why you dont feel home, thats why you cant find a tribe... but look at us... we are here..."

And it was such an intense eye opening moment for me.  I told him how I used to have a certain energy, a way about things but it faded...
"You ignored it, you tried to let it die," and he compared everything to life and death.
We can make decisions to breed life and grow.
Or we can make decisions to suffocate ourselves and die. 
Its a thought I always knew, but ignored.  I've probably written it 100x.  

Everyday is a choice.  Every moment is a choice.  How we eat, what we watch, how we speak to people, how we treat each other, how we love, its all a choice.  I've called it a vote before remember that?
Remember when I wrote "Broken Monkeys?"
Or any of that primal stuff I'd write about?  All the "let your soul lead," it was all along these lines.  In this blog, its been like a light trying to crack through again... I just didn't read my own words.  

"Jason, the world has enough martyrs, we need leaders.  We don't need heros, we need chiefs.  You left to sell insurance because you thought it was the noble thing... but your system rejected it... instead of selling insurance to take care of families after a mother or father dies, sell the insurance, your training, to take care of them all while they're still here... thats the real insurance policy."
I broke the seriousness and asked if I could steal that line.
"Have it, its all of ours."

-----

Thinking about my personal training, I have rejected it in the past.  People have consistently said "this is the best thing I do," in seeing me, referring to their daily/weekly plans.
Its the movement.  The focus on breath.  The exhaustion.  I've always said my personal training, my bootcamps, its yoga.  That's why its good.  Its meditation wrapped up in movements to improve your body, posture, composition, cardio, etc. and you're healing every single day you do this.  You are actively progressing to live a longer, healthier, better life.  
I'm not the most educated, I haven't read all the books or been to the seminars.  I haven't been on a stage or made $100,000, I haven't won any championships and I'm not published in any magazine.  But I do know, when you come in to train w me, you will leave better off than you were when you began.  I really don't have an ego about anything really, the testimonials speak for me.

I do feel its time to own who I am and stop trying to kill him. Stop trying to kill the career, the relationships, the path, the body.  Again, that's not ego.   
But because of the lack of ego, I can hear you and see you.  Because I can see you, I can be useful to you.  Because I am useful,  I have life value and value in life.  A value that transcends the physical and is everlasting, because energy doesn't die.   Tissues die, cells die, bodies die, we know this and accept it.  The soul, the energy lives on.  You might be able to prove this, but you know it to be true. Because you can feel it, you may even dream it or see it in your head.  And if you can see it there, than it is real, because there, it can last forever.  




(when you're 22, listening to Jim Morrison, rooting for Dennis Rodman, reading Hunter S. Thompson... things are going to get weird).



Monday, December 12, 2016

Family, Friends and Faith

That might be the title of my book one day.

But it also fits this particular blog entry.  See, I did something really wild recently.
I had a conversation where someone literally said to me "You can f around and make $70,000... want to make $150,000? You can."
And a little voice in the back of my head said "OMG... this is it!" and I said "Yes."

So I put in my notice at the gym and started something new.  Putting in notice at the gym was probably the second hardest choice I've ever made and within those 2 weeks of notice, I begged something or someone would step in and talk me out of it.  Someone to say "Hey idiot!  You're not seeing the whole picture."  If that person appeared and said it, I wasn't listening.  The only thing I saw was the stress relief a larger bank account would give me.  What I didn't know was one stress would be substituted with a far greater one.

So there I was, sitting in a very nice building, with very nice cars in the lot and well dressed people around me.  A very solid group of people.  Once or twice per week one of the partners would come in and give us a pep talk... VERY solid.  I even pulled one aside and let him know, "I've heard some of the greatest football coaches in the country speak and deliver messages that would make you do some things... you guys are right there (on that level)."  No BS.   But one day, one of the younger guys spoke and said somethings that helped me clear away the dollar signs.

He told us how he became rich.  I mean RICH.  Multi-millionaire at a very young age, no bill troubles, rich.
Sacrifice.
Now, you'd think "no kidding dumbass, no one hands out millions... everything comes at a price."  I agree.
But two days before that I missed the funeral of a guy I greatly admired and man I used to coach with.
Then I missed my 10 year olds first orchestra concert.
I quickly saw my time wasnt my time anymore, and 40 hours were turning into 60.
So when he said "If you're actions arent in alignment w your goals... you need to make a change."

And thats something we all know, right?  We have goals and we want to achieve them.  So our actions need to be positive steps towards the goal.  Easy math.

But then he went around the horn a bit with goal talk... and I was on the verge of a full blown freaking panic attack.  As the other guys talked about cars and homes, tax returns and weekly sales...

I flashed forward and thought "Will the girls say it was ok?"  Will missed time make up for a bank account?
"Dad, its ok... we understand you sacrificed seeing all of our performances for work and money."
Has your kid ever said that to you?
Thats what it is.  Someone may try to flip and say "What about their financial future?? What about providing?"

Thats exactly where we're different and I cant change it and I dont think I want to.  I'm nuts.  I've been nuts since I was a kid.  See, I've had death on my radar FORRRRRREVER.  Anyone who knew between 1993-2008 knows this.  I have always known and accepted that absolutely anything can happen at any given moment.  At any moment, that phone can ring and there is news on he other end that will change everything.   I've seen suicides, drug overdoses, cancer, car accidents, shootings, diabetes, heart attacks, you name it... so it can happen.  And it can happen today.  When you're young and you have a conversation about "This might be it," in regards to the most important person in your life... chemicals in that brain are going to move around a bit.
People have said "You're too hard on people," or "you push too hard."  This is exactly why.  100%.  Cant say it any more clearly.  I am racing everyday like this could be it.

"Take my hand, take a good look, this could be the day."
- Eddie Vedder/ Porch

I remember when I was maybe 15-16 years old, a friend invited me to go school shopping with him and his mom.  I remember thinking how weird it was, watching him give a shit.  He'd spend $80 on jeans and whatever else on certain brands he said he wanted to "wear $200 everyday."  Good or bad, I'm not the judge.  For whatever reason, he had this idea in him at a young age.  I just never did.  I never cared about material possessions.  I never found value in things that can be taken away.  If you can take it away from me, it was never really mine, so whats to be attached to.  

Human contact and relationships... those things cant be taken away, bought or sold.   

So "what about their financial future?"
I ask "What about their emotional future?"
What about their mental future?
Money is money.  It comes and goes like water.  I lose it, I get it.  We all do.  Sometimes we have a bunch, sometimes we have little.  Pretty simple.  its nice that we have some control over it.  To a point we can create ways to get more and we can create ways to spend it.  It's a silly little game we all share.
But time... we only have some.  And you have no control whatsoever.
It's a clock and its winding down.

Right now, wherever you are take a look at a calendar and then the time...
Ok, now let me know exactly how much you have left.  How many days?  How many seconds?
See the point?  You have no clue.  So there's real value there.  A value you cant put a dollar sign on.  No one ever has, no one ever will.  You'll never hear "Can you I trade in $10,000 to have another 10 days?"
"Can I trade $1,000 to see my kids play?"
"Can I trade $25,000 to not have cancer?"
"Can I trade $100,000 to have him back?"
See... you would.  You'd trade every fucking dime you have for more time.

Accept that our time together is very limited and we only have one life.  You cannot spend it doing anything other than what makes you happy.
So when they want my goals... I want time.  I want time with kids.  I want time at home.  I want to spend my time working with people and for people I enjoy very much.  I want my work to be useful and helpful.  Money?  I only care enough to be able to pay bills, see a beach once per year, have 3 meals per day, have a little extra for random fun and not freeze.  If I have to hustle a little harder, I'm ok with it and I'll choose my route that doesn't effect my priorities and values.

I have a nice tattoo on my back that needs some touching up.  It reads "I AM MINE," around my nickname.






The selfish, they're all standing in line
Faithing and hoping to buy themselves time
Me, I figure as each breath goes by
I only own my mind
North is to South what the clock is to time
There's east and there's west and there's everywhere life
I know I was born and I know that I'll die
In between is mine
I am mine
And the feeling it gets left behind
All the innocence lost at one time
Significance behind the eyes
There's no need to hide
We're safe tonight
The ocean is full 'cause everyone's crying
The full moon is looking for friends at high tide
The sorrow grows bigger when the sorrow's denied
I only know my mind
I am mine
And the feeling it gets left behind
All the innocence lost at one time
Significance between the eyes
There's no need to hide
We're safe tonight
What
And no feeling that gets left behind
All the innocent lost among time
We are all different behind the eyes
There is no need to hide
And the feeling that gets left behind
All the innocence broken with lies
Yeah. We are all doomed behind the eyes
They're saying to hide
Yeah, yeah yeah

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Blue Room & Goals

When I was young, I rented a room in a friends house.  Excellent friends.
It was a corner room, so there were two total windows on two different walls, producing a very nice breeze throughout the room and the second floor, when I had the door open.  It wasn't a large room, big enough for my bed, a dresser and I had a very small entertainment center that held my stereo, next to that were two over-sized floor speakers that I bought with the first dollars I recvd from a paper route as a kid (which I still have almost 25 years later).
On one wall, was a collage of posters and rolling stone clips from my favorite bands, covered from top to bottom, left to right.  Pearl Jam, Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Radiohead, etc.
Every other wall was painted sky blue.

It was probably the comfortable cross breeze and soft carpet but I like to think it was the music that attracted visitors to enter and stay... maybe it was the incense.  They'd sit, we'd open drinks, let the music play and talk all night.  Sometimes it was about the music, most times it was about something the music inspired.  Growing up, trying to figure it out, talking it out... I don't remember anyone playing a role in that room, it was just happening.

Unfortunately, I rarely let anyone control the music.  Ever see the Jack Black character in High Fidelity?  I have a bit of this in me, aka music snob.
Which in hindsight, was ok.  Not many people around me listened to the music I did, especially the females.  But a few male friends were with me and we'd try to impress each other with rare finds of live versions or bootlegs of rarely played songs.
So if you know The Smiths, The Cure, and Morrisey, then mix in The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jimi and Dylan, then add what was popular at the time (listed above), you could see how conversation transpired... and then let the imagination float on.

My Blue Room is the title of this new page on the site, dedicated to playlists w intent.  Remember when we used to do that?  We'd make a mixtape for a particular occasion or to share tunes with friends.  This was back when I had a job delivering car parts, driving from Willloughby to Akron to Port Clinton with a card board box next to me w 100 different cassette tapes, all labeled something obscure and random, but the title always fit whatever was on it.

Hope you check it out and find something on there you can enjoy from time to time.

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

You plant a tomato plant.  You choose healthy dirt, and protect it.  You water and take care of it.  In time, it produces tomatoes.
Don't be disappointed with your growth.  It takes time.  All the yelling and frustration you can muster wont make the results come any faster.  Enjoy the ride, enjoy the process.
You've all heard, "The journey is the reward," and we get older, it rings more true.
I was thinking today while leaving the gym "I'm still results driven, but more than that, I want a feeling."  My training is just as much stress relief and a general release as it is towards the actual physical goal.

And when I think about my goal list... it's transformed massively over the past 2 years.  Where it was once loaded with "buy this," or "make x money," it's now filled with places to go, things to do, that I feel will inspire a new avenue or a possible experience that will give me particular insights.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I'm sorry

This is probably the hardest blog I've ever written... So let me find my life jacket real quick before diving in (spotify - pearl jam playlist - shuffle)
I'm lying... I didn't hit shuffle.  I chose Long Road... I think I've heard this song around 73 times over the past 5 days.

Why?  Because I have an issue... maybe, this guy above is partially responsible for it.  Or maybe he came in in a pivotal point letting me its ok to dive deep into pain.

---

I've always been very, very bad w funerals.  To the point where I've skipped ones I should've attended.  I regret that very much.
It takes a lot of energy to not cry.  I avoid it (in front of people) as often as possible.  It probably looks awkward.
So, I've never understood what to say or how to say it.  I mean really, whats to really say?
I had a friend who lost a child earlier this year... what words were there for me to say?  The pain is the pain, no words can change that.  No words can make it better or less painful.  No ones coming back w magical words.   Everyone says "I'm sorry for your loss," and I didn't get that.   I just didn't understand the phrase.  I wasn't cold, the words just didn't make actual sense to me.





I was sitting in the airport with someone who I shared some time with recently at a funeral out of state.
I told a story:

  • I used to see some shrinks... mostly for conversation, honestly... mostly little hippy, holistic women.  Aside from a doozy, (I just lol'd at that), I'm ok.  But I'd honestly tour around and have conversations with shrinks and therapy based ideas, diving into mental exercises and such.  Probably 80% useless crap.  But I had one conversation that stuck a bit.  We were talking about death, suicide and pain and the woman told me "When we lose someone we love, when they leave this world, they take with them a piece of our heart... thats the pain.  And then we have a space for them, and depending on the loss and circumstances, it can create a hole.
So this morning I'm cleaning up a mess from my disastrous dogs, and cried.  
I had these GD songs running through my head... and I thought "I'm so sorry," and it finally made sense.  

I'm sorry that anyone has to walk on w that pain in their heart.  I'm so sorry.


Please Read
https://www.gofundme.com/joshuas-medical-fund

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thumbing my way

The (For the sake of privacy, there could be some holes in this story)


Every morning here, I get up first, probably because I'm still in cleveland time which is 2 hours ahead.  So 5am in AZ is 7am back there.  

Once I hear the pup moving around, I toss his leash on, get dressed and we walk.  


Ever since I could remember, I had to go nearly everywhere w my blanky.  Any road trips w my parents, even the time they dropped me and my brother and sister in Altoona for a week, I had to have my blanky ready and available at all times.  

Except then, the blanky was a Walkman and then discman, now it's a phone w Spotify.  


Along the path of the walk, unless you're busy staring at your shoelaces, you can't help but stare at the sky and mountain ranges.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  I like the desert air.  I like the rock landscape in place of grass.  

I like the change.  In a different time and place, I think I would've made a really nice wanderer and writer.  I'd travel from town to town, writing of the things I'd see, people I'd meet, and the all the starlit paths that connected them.   


I've experienced some changes recently, that I attributed to becoming "a grumpy old man."  Excess noise bothered me, traffic bothered me, general chatter bothered, all almost to an annoying "get off my damn lawn," type reaction. 

But then I saw it from a different angle... I long for simplicity.  I have a deep desire for a simple way.  An honest, open minded pace of life.  The traffic, the noise, they were all signs and messages, telling me something needed to change. 

And I read a quote yesterday that really drove the point home.  "When a flower does not grow, it's not the flowers fault."

(Look at me, comparing myself to a pretty flower).  If a flower doesn't grow, it needs new or healthier soil, it needs different light or levels of water.  It's never a bad flower.  It's never a flower that doesn't behave.  It just needs to be in the right garden to grow the way it was designed to grow. 


---


I was sitting w a friend recently and we were talking about relationships between men and women, fairly general.  She asked if there are as many good men as women.

No, I answered quickly, probably too quickly. 

She stared as if anticipating a joke. 

I said no, it's not even close.  

I often think of the John Mayerlyric in "Daughters," where he sings "she's, just like a maze, where all of the walls they continually change."

I see women in a similar aspect, but not as always in the maze term.  I see a kaleidoscope.  A very trippy array of colors and shapes and patterns and twisting/turning movements, always changing and surprising, yet the consistency is just in the base line thought of the kaleidoscope.

In using this analogy, the differences I see rest in spectrum of colors.  The quantity of angles and ability to adjust the speeds as the colors unwind and move.   

The beauty is inside the complexity and when magenta appears, its magenta, not purple or red.  Does that make sense? I see art. 


We talked about the definition of "good," in relationship terms.  What makes a good guy or a good gal.  This reminded me a conversation I had many, many years ago in the back of a parts department.  There was an older man that worked in the department, just a few days per week and we would talk about everything.  I'll tell you though, we didn't click until he heard my cassette tapes.  He was an old blues man, around 65, black w the Morgan freeman hair.  Very kind.  He heard some of my tunes and we bonded over guitars. 

So one day, he was telling me about his relationship w his wife, deceased, and communication in love and it always stuck w me.  

I'll admit, in this phase, he had a front row seat of watching me attempt to flirt and convince a co-worker into dating me.  I'm sure he was completely entertained because we, me and the girl, were pretty much idiots.  

But he told me something along the lines of, "love is a language.  You can be speaking it, but if they speak it in a different dialect, you won't understand each other. You could be speaking English, she's speaking Italian, both claiming love, but you can't hear it."

Too often in the past, this lesson has slipped away from me.  I'd like to think, or hope, it's always on my radar.  I feel it's loaded w compassion and empathy, two traits we could never have enough of.  

I see this language everywhere now. Between friends, men, women, relatives, etc.  it's right in front us, we hear it, but can't always understand it. 


The breakdown can be found here, and we need to learn to not be too upset when we see it/learn it/feel it - If you're not able to or willing to, learn another language, you will be limited in relationships and experiences, and you will need luck. 

**Please read that part again and really think about love as a language and how many different ways it can be communicated. **

Remember, this is the mind F.  You can think or feel all you want to about your love, but if the receiver doesn't feel it, it's not full.  There is not a complete connection.  It has to go from x and into y, whatever x and y may be.  It has to flow out and in, up and down.

Imagine a teeter-totter with only one person on it, or two people but not moving evenly.  It wouldn't be much of a ride.  It would have promise early, but one would get tried and feel they're carrying the load.

Or think of playing catch w someone.  You play w anticipation of throwing, catching, moving, you may make a game of it but all the while there is a connection w the ball.  

Some people can't throw far and need their partner to step in. 

Some have wild arms and sling it all over the yard... that could make for an exhausting game. 

Some just enjoy consistent long toss.  

Do we all experience fun the same?

Do we all experience fear the same?

Then why would love be any different. 


I use Hendrix and Mayer often in blogs... we hear the same notes, but we all don't hear the same thing.  To you, it might just be a guitar, to me, I hear language. 


Let's say you're traveling and you meet someone in France.  Now, you've taken a few classes in preparation for your trip so you're not in the absolute dark, but you certainly can't speak fluently.  

You walk up to have a conversation.  They are in your boat but opposite, they speak just a touch of English.  

There will be some common words, you'll have somecommunication.  In time, if you stick w the conversation, you might be able to learn more words from each other and improve the line.  It might grow and grow and you learn to speak the same language.  

Or it could go the opposite.  One of you may not be a great teacher, the other a poor or unwilling student.  Maybe they just didn't want to be taught English by you and you didn't want to learn their French. 


In this context, you can't be upset.  You can be upset about details or something physical/tangible, but not the communication lines highlighted.  


We are all individuals w one life, sharing common space on earth.  As Steve Jobs said "don't be trapped living someone else's dogma."


For me... I need A) consistent conversations that spark new thoughts and stimulate ideas, I need to know you're in my "tribe," and B) I need to see your soul in action. 


(For the record, I don't pretend to be a smartass, I'm just a guy talking shit and throwing out some ideas w my thumbs). 



Sunday, November 20, 2016

3 in

I attended mentor high schools graduation ceremony last year, and as it was going on, I paused to day dream how cool it would be to speak and what would I say.   I remember thinking of words like preparation, patience and perseverance... because I thought it was cool to have three P words.

But I've rewritten my speech and although those three P's could be used and would still be nice and useful, there would be an addition. 

If I could tell "kids," one thing right now, it would probably be to NOT do what they're thinking about doing.

(Get the quotes?)

Do NOT do that thing you're about to go and do.  

All the things your teachers, parents, friends say.. all those things you're supposed to be doing.  Don't do that.  


Don't do it UNLESS it gives you goosebumps.  

Don't do it unless your obsessed and it's the only thing you day dream about.  

Does this make sense?  

Otherwise, you're just riding a wave of momentum that's been built by a bunch of people who were riding someone else's momentum... and you're not an individual, you're now an extension.   Your just a guy or girl grabbing a torch from someone who didn't know wtf they were doing anyway, and you're just continuing along that track.  

It's not your track, it's not your path, and you do not have to ride that wave. 


Obviously, you should know by now I work with young guys, 15-18 year olds, so this might read in a way that scares a parent. 

And I'm old-ish, I've had some unique experiences, I've been a great people watcher and I've studied.  I've seen young people make decisions on marriage and school and ______, and I've thought "hmm that'll be a learning experience."

And I don't have those thoughts from arrogance but from failures and life experiences.  I've failed, I've seen failure, so I've grown and I've learnt somethings (that was humor). 


-make sure you've read the past two blogs to help keep this one in proper context-


We are born into this... odds are, our beginnings weren't very different.  Suburbs or wherever, probably somewhat near me, state-wise.  

And we heard about our grades, and sports or band or something like that, and then we got a little older and things started to develop socially.  You know we got to our teens and there we learned some things there and started attempting to develop an identity.... but we really had no role models.  

We had people telling us the basic a-b-c's of life and we can't blame them, they only knew those a-b-c's.  

Go to college now. 

Then get a job. 

Then get married. 

Then buy a house. 

Then have some kids. 

Then.... whateverthefuck, right?

I think you're lying if you didn't think there was an order.  I did.  

But now I see all these things to do, anything and everything, and there isn't an order.  

Because life is actually chaos. 

So back to the 3 P's.

Perseverance

Preparation 

Patience 

You have to be prepared... you have to be patient to stick to something... and when it gets hard, that's when you need to dig your heels in and be ready for the battle. 


But know, the outcome is not designed by you. You barely have any control.  The only thing you can control is your absolute here and now.  Your literal HERE and NOW.  

That's it.  Tomorrow is definitely not promised.  Nothing about it is.  


But you can influence it.  You can create the curve.  You can influence your "tribe," and environment.  You don't have to work or live in a negative environment, that causes pain or stress.  You can choose to move and find something new, a new vibe or flavor, one that fits your soul and you'll know it when you see it, you'll feel it and it will ring "home."

Do not quit until you arrive.

Prepare. 

Be patient. 

Persevere.  

Be ready to know it when you find or it finds you. 

Don't be surprised by easy successes.  

When your soul is home, success will grow all around you.  Life will become effortless yet full of ambition and positive vibrations.  

You cannot settle for THEIR story, you HAVE write your own. 

Otherwise you'll be 73 years old, with nothing but memories of mortgage payments, heating bills, and stress.


Travel.  Meet people.  Experience cultures.  Dive in. Drink life.  Don't lock yourself into one place, one job, one anything.  

This ride is so much shorter than you know, than some will acknowledge, go after everything with passion and every ounce of energy in you soul. 




Saturday, November 19, 2016

People As Places

(Started writing notes while on a plane and listening to music)


Don't be so judgmental

Don't be so hard on everything

Including yourself


It all meant more than I ever let on

   

Take a look back on the good moments and be truly thankful.   They were all gifts.


Mind-Body-Soul

I wrote in the last entry that the three rarely meet and then "work together."  All three, rare, but two of the three, often. 

I've written a bit about ego and many other ideas along this line, I'm efforts to alter how you see the word "ego."  

Many times we read it or hear it w a negative connotation, but that isn't accurate.   Think of the word ego as a mask you can wear or a role you can play.  

Imagine the ego as the minds mask that hides the soul.  

Is it needed?  In proper places, probably, but debatable.  


So back to the top, Mind-Body-Soul... and why it's on my mind.... why it's all I see right now.  


I don't know. 

I just see people and I'm seeing more.  

To me, our bodies are just tools for what the body and soul want and need.  Maybe I subconsciously wrote BODY in the middle of "mind-body-soul," because there can be some tug of war happening.  

On one side, we could talk about how the mind is our controller and give ourselves these traits of behavior and say "well I'm just a little ______," right?  

The mind has this need to create "teams," and box in our thoughts so we feel like an individual.  

But then we have to admit, the mind runs the show for most of us, probably 99.5% of the day.  


The soul however, is searching for a different level.  Where the mind is searching for control and order, to connect dots, the soul wants to be free and feel.  The body and the mind can trap the soul. 

Think of this.... do you know that thing you did where you didn't remember thinking about doing it?   And I don't mean "driving to work," no one thinks about their actual drive, we just drive.  I'm talking about a "dance."

The zone, flow state.  When was the last time you moved your body in way that made you feel a way you almost can't explain, certainly not w one word?

Maybe dancing....

Maybe playing an instrument...

Maybe a kiss...


That was the soul finally running the show, right? And it felt like heaven.  It felt effortless, it felt like the easiest thing ever and all the pieces just slid together like you're in the matrix.  

 (Damn, this would be so much better in person over some beers and tacos). 


So pause.  


My personal goal(s) is to find this state as often as possible.  Is it an individual state?  Can be, but can also be shared by a team of 2-100.  Think about it.  

Think about a yoga class, one that isn't run  around pop music and a bunch of fortune cookie quotes, but how a yoga class was intended.  Breathing w movement, in "line," w 30-50-100 others.... all w breath in line and actually meditating.  I think there's some magic there and a state that can be found. 

Thinking about the defense I coached this past season.  I didn't write much during the season, I prefer the privacy.  I really enjoy the conversations and moments and that it has its special space, the fields, no different than a yoga room or mat.  

We had moments down the stretch where we peaked because they played without the mind.  Their bodies moved automatically and not only were their souls  assisting the body for their individual play, but there was one beat connecting all 11 guys.  And it was absolutely beautiful.   One of my most enjoyable moments as a coach, ever.  I got to watch them from August, just kids, just good guys, and through time, through conversations (and some meditation), through a fire, they learned to get away from the "mind," and this is where they found pleasure. 

This is why the tattoo reads "anything & everything."  It's all the same to me. 

(YouTube Dennis Rodman highlights, you'll see it nonstop, that's why I loved him so much.  He's not thinking, he's playing basketball like Jimi Hendrix played the guitar).

I flew to AZ yesterday.  So I had 5 hours to myself w no social media or game distractions.   Just my book, my study materials for the new job and my music.

When I was a kid, if my parents weren't happy w my grades, they'd box up all my cassette tapes for the next grading period, even back then that was the only punishment that effected me.  

So I'm flying.... and thinking... and decide to listen to some John Mayer.  Now, you might be thinking of "your body is a wonderland," John Mayer, and if that's what you know, that really sucks.  Mayer's guitar work is Hendrix meets B.B., sooooo soulful.  Blues w some pop and just an electric sound that'll make you question a lot of choices.   When he's riffing away, you can feel it... you can feel it's not his mind letting it loose w that tool (body and guitar), it's a deep, deep soul and he may admit he couldn't repeat things.

I'm a huge Pearl Jam fan.  At one point I owned around 90% of those live bootlegs they released plus a good 20 of pirated cds and anything else I could find.  

I could hear a version of Even Flow and know "Italy, 2001," for two reasons.  1) I'm a psycho about them and 2) the guitarist said "I don't know exactly what I'm playing... I know the song but then I go somewhere else."

Where?

The zone.  Flow state.  The soul taking over.  

My point in this long winded, two thumbed rant (typing on the phone), is that we need to search for that x that help bring the soul out more often.  We don't have to live in la la land, floating around and ignoring this reality on earth, but we also cannot live in our minds.  

Let the bodies be the expression.  

Open your mind and find that thing that sets a spark and makes your heartbeat skip one and you go "whoah... what was that jolt and can I have another?"

Right now, or today I guess, go do something that can help you find this feeling and try to tell me I'm wrong.  Feel that feeling and tell me it isn't the best drug.  

Mind off, soul on, let the body go and see what happens. 


This Is Blue Chip