Posted in Adventure, Inspiration, Life

Mad Max – Desert style

Mad Max – desert style, or life, adventure, and it’s meaning.

When was your last adventure?

For me it was during a little road trip in the desert, with no schedules and no particular destination. Dirty and sweaty, windows rolled down, cruising the endless road stretched out in front of me for as far as the eye could see. Mile after mile passing by with no other vehicle in sight. Mountains, painted rock on both sides, wild horses, tumbleweeds, canyons, and a whole lot of open land, a whole lot of nothing. For sure no water or at the best very scarce. A gas station, well hidden that I never found or needed, where I was instructed beforehand in case it’d be closed. “Just go across the road to the bar, they can call the owner of the gas station to come and open it if you need gas.” Welcome to the wildest of the Wild West.

Luckily I had a tank full of gas and enough water to last. Drinking was a whole other adventure and it was so hot you didn’t actually mind spilling a little water down your throat, feeling it run down your chest, mixing with the dust. I couldn’t help myself feeling like I was straight out of a Mad Max movie conquering the “barren wasteland”, I mean the desert of my home state Nevada. And it was in that moment that I smiled and envisioned a Mohawk skull as a hood ornament for the Jeep. If a car did come and was visible way up on the horizon, it was like gripping the wheel and driving into battle on fury road.

Last stop before heading back to civilization, climbing a steep canyon wall, meeting a cool stripped tail lizard on the way up, and an awesome view and shadow reflection of myself, on top of the world. Bottom screen – middle.

I share this story wondering if you ever noticed how many of us rush around in dizzying speeds? Serious, unable to play, straight faced, meaning business all the time. Unable to sit still for a moment as if afraid to miss something. And in doing so we miss the whole meaning of life and what it’s all about. We forget that success is not measured by our possessions and achievements, but that it is about our experiences and moments like these.

Every day a new chase begins, rushing to catch a little more of the same old. Is it our social conditioning, to make ends meet, because our workload is too much that we’ve forgotten how to relax, how to be still and just be, or perhaps is it that we are frantically chasing the meaning and the purpose of our life? I think sooner or later you might have to answer that question for yourself. What do you think, do you chase? If you are, then please consider this.

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

-Alan W. Watts

You don’t need a desert adventure to feel alive, but for me it was one of those moments and a reminder to put this quote into perspective.

Posted in Health, Inspiration, Weight Loss

The fire within

My weight loss journey plateaued after losing 10 lbs. It was as if my body had adjusted to my new tricks and ways of life. Being more active I was losing fat but also gained heavier muscle, which required even harder work for the pounds to come off. Still, after 10 lbs it all came to a halt.

I have to say I never particularly enjoyed working out. Maybe I never found the right work out, and a negative mind frame became the foundation of my excuses, even the perceived dizziness while working out. Maybe it was sweating profusely that I hated, but today I see it as fat crying and that something is happening towards my goals. I can see it as progress, that what I’m doing is actually working. All of a sudden it’s no longer an issue and instead it has turned into motivation. Weird how I now look forward to my workouts. 🤔

In the past I never understood how people could get addicted to working out, and today I too belong to those people chasing the feeling and the results one gets from putting in the work. It has turned into something more than just the weight coming off. Weight loss used to be my most motivating factor, but today it’s only one of the reasons and not the main one anymore. I feel better when I work out, and I ache less. It’s like my joints get an oiling and move with more ease. It’s a weapon against chronic pain and the rheumatoid arthritis.

There are still days I have to convince myself to get moving and the chronic fatigue of an autoimmune disease is not always on my side. But those days seem to be further in between now and I manage more days than none. I’m grateful for my guilty conscience that doesn’t let me rest and stays the course. There is a new found motivation, a fire within that drives me to become the best version of myself. All of a sudden everything is different. I feel I might have been here before in recent attempts and yet this time can’t be compared. This best version of myself encompasses many different aspects, from the physical to the spiritual, to the person I continue to grow into. It’s a now or never attitude, one that realizes that I’m getting older and time is getting more limited unless I live forever, which of course I’m not.

Arriving at such conclusions has become a big focus, one that finally made me put myself first. I am still getting used to the concept and it’s still new to me. Like so many, I used to always put everybody else before me, but I no longer see it as selfish. I think it is essential to maintain a happy and balanced relationship with myself so I can be of service to myself and therefore others. That doesn’t mean that those who are important in my life have taken a backseat. I think it’s the opposite and perhaps it has allowed me to care at an even deeper level.

As far as my weight loss is concerned, I’m thinking about upping my green Juice intake to two shakes a day vs. just one. My body craves it and luckily I don’t mind the taste. Maybe it can jumpstart the next wave of success and kick start the next 10 lbs. Maybe I add some weights to add definition to my physique. I have a ways to go, but I’m on my way. Further I have committed to walking at least 3 miles every day. It’s been tough with the hazardous air quality due to the wildfires, but I have not missed a day and I’m well over a week into it.

Pssst: I’ve shed another pound since originally writing this, and I’m at 11 lbs lost, so something must be working.

Posted in Achievement, Hiking, Inspiration

Soul Rocker

On the way to Cathedral Lakes and a little victory moment, having conquered what was impossible not too long ago. This was my Soul Rocker moment and you can read about part 1 + 2 by clicking the links above.

Today it’s about a new word that found it’s way into my path. “Soul Rocker” and here is the definition.

Soul Rocker,

One who lives from the heart, with compassion for all, and possesses a tenacious enthusiasm for music, life and the planet.

-Michael Franti

This was such a moment

Posted in Inspiration, Shadow Self

Putting in the “Shadow work”

I’ve been doing a lot of “shadow work” lately and it’s been a rewarding process. A process that once was hidden without a clue, without the realization it even existed. Perhaps I have only scratched the tip of the iceberg and more work is waiting, but naturally it always does.

I try to acknowledge the process and be good to myself, giving credit for taking that first step, that all important first step. I have come a long ways, without ever truly realizing and being aware of the journey it took. Without realizing the constant work that takes place whether we are conscious of it or not. The sea of experiences and lessons life has on our soul, ultimately shaping us and our destiny. It’s quite incredible to look back at the pieces throughout the years, and how carefully they had to happen. How they had to unfold for things to turn out the way they did. It’s rather mind boggling and a deep sense of gratitude finds me even through the pain of some of these incidents. As most time’s, luck would have it that it required some sort of adversity for it all to happen. I say luck because I have to the believe that our hardest experiences bear the most valuable lessons. If we can see it as such, as the growth of ourselves and enlightenment, then we are indeed lucky to be given the opportunity, for without it we wouldn’t be who we are and I hope you can feel some sense of pride and accomplishment for who you are turning out to be.

If everything always went smooth, would we notice something of center, or attempt the hard work of implementing this change? It requires more than mere awareness, and although important it is only the beginning of the hard work that lies ahead. It takes more than just snapping your fingers and make it go away. It’s hard work, something that won’t fix overnight. It asks for a willingness to take a honest look. Next comes a decision of what to do with the info found, if anything. The dedication to peel back the layers put in place over the years, by many painful experiences. It won’t be easy and there will be resistance and fear. We must remember that our shadow self deals with the darkness within ourselves, the negative, mean, evil and ugly aspects.

Ask yourself if you are prepared to accept such a truth. Can you see yourself as less than perfect or will you send the truth back into hiding? What are you prepared to do? Is it important enough to make changes? Can you stay objective and meet yourself with understanding, love and forgiveness.

It was important for me. With so much changing in my life, I arrived at a point that no longer allowed me to send issues back down to hide for centuries to come. It was no longer optional of whether to address them or not. The decision was mine to not go forward in the same fashion, and because of it, shadow work needed to be done. All that was required from me was the willingness to put in the work. An open mind perhaps, and I was ready for an upgrade to my soul system.

Since starting this honest look I have been able to view it in a new light. I have a new understanding of what a daunting process it can be for many and yet I am surprised of how easy it has become for me to stare my flaws into the face. I can see my own mistakes without the need of wanting to justify them. Explanations and justifications about my character are no longer needed or even important. There is a strange calm, an acceptance, a willingness to go with the flow more than ever. Resistance has faded further as I meet myself and others with understanding, compassion and mostly forgiveness. Digging deep, I am learning the reasons for these behaviors so it can be addressed and released at a healing soul level. I am finding understanding for the hurt and the wounds so deep that added one protective layer after another. I know that I am not a bad person, nor do I see others in that way. I recognize these walls and what they used to serve. I know they were carriers of protection and I know that everybody has such walls.

“I myself just happen to like an open living concept much better, and I’m tearing down the very walls that confined me in the past.”

I believe that over the years I have shed much of such pain and I don’t really feel the need for protection anymore. Still, it’s work in progress and there will always be some remnants that remain from time to time which require clearing.

“It is a frightening thought that Man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster.” -Carl Jung

Posted in Inspiration, Shadow Self

Going beyond…the transition from the mundane to the sacred

Torii – Japanese Gate building

Picture taken from google

In the book The untethered soul I have learned about the journey of going beyond ourselves. I think it was timely and needed. It allowed me to Acknowledge my shadow self, and to work through some of the many Masks we wear. So far it has taught me a understanding not only of myself, but also about the behavior of others that might have been painful to me in the past. It has brought forward a compassion, even an understanding as to why things unfolded the way they did. Not that it would be an excuse or ok how some of these things happened. But then, how many could truly say that they have a understanding of it? Most of us would just build another wall, another protective layer to shield ourselves from the pain, giving in to the ego, only to uphold foolish pride and not come across as vulnerable. When you are ready to lay all these weapons down, you truly set yourself up for personal growths and taking your life to the next level. Perhaps you even meet your lucid self.

Will you go out on a limb and make yourself vulnerable and naked? Will you choose to keep your heart open despite the risk of getting hurt? What will it take beyond the words? Will you allow your true authentic self to step forward? Are you willing to put in the work? Only you will know the answer.

Posted in Adventure, Hiking, Inspiration

Stairway to heaven – PT 1

Only a title like this could have motivated me to keep going, although I didn’t really think of it at the time. It was more like a theme of “are we there yet” that played out in my mind. But what was awaiting me was a stairway to heaven, but also a great reward that would eventually show itself after one of these “false summits.”

How many times had I pushed myself this year? Pushing beyond limitations, beyond beliefs, and beyond what I thought capable. Whether it was in the physical form or mentally, each time required overcoming the inner resistance that urged me to quit. To give in and just call it a day. Something kept me going this year, something was different from prior times. I found a new willpower and it was thriving. A new desire that wasn’t clouded by pain, to not give up and to propel myself forward and keep going. Physically I was able to do so on most occasions. I knew it had to be a mental thing and steadily I pushed on. In the process of it, I leaned a thing or two about myself, and with it came the reminder that takes me back to old values that still hold truth. I’m talking about the belief that everything worthwhile requires hard work and this was a constant, something that wasn’t outdated. It rang true and required a dedication and commitment that often drives us to the brink of our limits. My stairway to heaven was going to take my precious lessons to the next level, perhaps beyond my preconceived self, my own set limits, and I would have to work for it because the reward would not come easy.

The first night camping was a night of adjusting to sleeping on the ground. In other words it was not the most comfortable night I ever had. It was a night filled with tossing and turning and daylight could not come quick enough so I could get up. I felt mummified in anticipation for a cold night that had me in too much clothing. In the end I was too warm which disrupted my sleep, yet I was unable to remedy the situation. You know the feeling of waking because you are too warm, but you are not that awake, or conscious enough to do something about it. The same applies if you’re too cold and that’s what kind of night it was. Uggghhh.

Daylight came eventually and would give way to the uncomfortable, sleep deprived night. After stretching the old sore bones and a modest campsite breakfast, we jumped into the Jeep and off to Yosemite we were. There was a previous conversation about doing a hike up to Cathedral Lakes. It was a new hike for me and also one that was a bit daunting. We had agreed that if we did attempt it, it would be on a day when there was no chance of thunderstorms. Much of the hike would go over exposed, smooth granite, which is not the greatest place to be when lightening strikes or the surface gets wet. With puffy white clouds in the sky and a chance for thunderstorms, I didn’t think that today was going to be “that day” but on a last moments decision, it was. It was probably a good thing since it left little time to stress myself out about the difficulty of the hike.

Off we were, along the way, passing the massive granite dome you can find here. We took a different route and a non existing trail that is as good as not travelled at all. It took us away from the crowds and the congestion this area often sees. It was a shorter route that also packed the elevation change into a much shorter distance, having me climb 73 floors mostly all in 1.5- 2.0 miles, at high elevation. The breathing and air into the lungs was a different challenge all together. It as so steep at times that I feared slipping on the smooth granite, only to face my nightmare and fear of falling to death. Leaning my upper body forward to compensate for the intense ascend, I could only hope for my shoes to have a good grip and prevent this fear from happening. “Why did I decided to bring the old shoes that nearly had no thread left on the bottom?” Brilliant decision making at it’s finest. Especially for someone that still doesn’t trust their footing a 100% and never knows when the RA decides to strike, leaving you uncoordinated and more vulnerable. By the way, that’s the rational common sense side of me talking right now, but the rebel and warrior inside of me just went for it that day. There wasn’t too much inner dialogue going on at the time and the warrior emerged in an effort to push myself to new heights and experiences. I was still going to be careful and not reckless after all.

To be continued….

Posted in Inspiration, Poetry

Vanya – Poetry from a butterfly

Vanya – Butterfly 🦋 Picture taken at the Zoo.

Magnificent beauty, what struggle have you endured. Trapped in your cocoon, tight, unable to move, choking your mere breath.

Bidding your time, out on a limb, patiently waiting, trusting to make it through, unharmed, life’s future in your favor.

An act full of force, finally setting you free, on your terms, timing considered. Outgrowing your confines, “I am ready.”

A crack and a pop, breaking your mold, leaving the old, stretching legs for it all to unfold. Breathing anew and filling your soul, remembering the struggle that now is just old.

Magnificent beauty, born from struggle and pain. The time is here, unfurl your wings. Glorious fairy to the heavens you fly, beautiful, gracious, a dance of delight.

Posted in Challenges, Inspiration, Life

2020 – A year of challenges

Picture taken from google

The last trimester of 2020 has started, and the year continues to be a struggle for most. We see Memes all over social media, clearly stating our frustration and dislikes with how 2020 has unfolded for us. Despite our stories being different, many share common reasons, and are eager to share their opinions. Clearly others must feel the same and perhaps there is comfort to be found in knowing that we are not alone.

It is easy to notice how disgusted we are with 2020, and what a bad taste it has left in our mouths. Our expectations have fallen short and the year has turned out way beyond our wildest beliefs, and not at all in a good way. Each month starts in preparation for what is yet to be unleashed, without realizing at what cost this is coming to us and how much negativity we have taken on into our lives.

We have allowed ourselves to live in fear, to look at the future with anxiety as it chokes the energy out of our hearts. Our energy flow is disrupted and blockages have settled into ourselves. Hope has vanished, our guards are up, and we brace anew, because there is surely nothing good that can come our way. And as if we didn’t deal with enough already, Mars is about to go retrograde and we can expect to revisit everything that has already happened in 2020.

It’s been a year of extremes for sure. A year of disruption. A year that is shaking our world and everything we have come to know. Our comfort level, our control and security is on shaky legs, the future is uncertain and it’s easy to get sucked into all the negatives. It’s with certainty that we can say that some of us are worst off than others, that each story is personal and unique and that we can’t begin to understand another’s journey until we ourselves have walked in their shoes.

Much is out of our control as we try to roll with the punches month after month, but as I am reflecting back on the months passed, I wonder if we could also bring a little attention to what is in our control? To know that the life we knew and grew comfortable with had to change and couldn’t go on like it was any longer. Could we give gratitude for what we do have and perhaps realize that things could always be worse? Could we embrace new ways for a better future and learn a new way of life?

I can’t help but think back to previous years and somehow I can’t recall a extraordinary year that went smooth and without any challenges. Every year had it’s on set of struggles, different from the previous, but never easy. There was always a challenge of some sort and it will always be this way. When you overcome one thing, another will linger in the shadows and the sooner we learn to deal with it and to embrace it, the better off we will be.

I think back to failed New Years resolutions and year after year not turning out how I had hoped it would. Excitedly and full of motivation I approached each year. Here I was given the opportunity for a fresh start, with no major catastrophe, stars aligned and all, I was going to succeed, and still somehow each year turned out with me saying “well next year will be better, next year will be my year.” How many of you are with me and relate? Is it just tough luck? How do we feel about these unsuccessful years now, and how would we compare them to 2020? Have we taken away lessons that helped us grow or have we allowed our “defeats” to impact us negatively? Should we even view them as defeats or lessons to help us attain a better life?

Could we consider to resist less and therefore struggle less?

Posted in Freedom, Inspiration, Life

All Freedom Mile’s have bad chapters

It was on my Birthday trip that I saw this message written on the small path I hiked that evening. As a believer in signs and messages finding us at any given time, I knew that this was no ordinary moment. I just didn’t quite understood at the time what it was referring to. I do now and today I see it as a message of progress in becoming more and more who I am meant to be. I see it as leaving the old behind, of becoming free from the shackles that bind us. Liberated from the things that hold us back, the people that don’t get us or put us down, and the old programming that no longer applies. It’s constant progress and it is happening.

It could be anything that leads to your freedom mile. Perhaps it’s financial independence or leaving behind a job that sucks the life out of you. Maybe you are leaving behind a abusive or toxic relationship, maybe it’s just a matter of moving on. Each freedom mile is unique, different and very personal. And it’s painful and ugly at first, but trust me when I tell you that you will be rewarded in ways never imaginable if you stay the course.

So please understand this;

Bad chapters can still create great stories. Wrong paths can still lead to right places. Failed dreams can still create successful people, and sometimes it takes losing yourself to find yourself.

You can’t go wrong and perhaps every negative experience only makes you stronger. Strong enough to walk your “Freedom Mile.”

Chin up, it’s worth the effort.