The Moment Of Possibility – Where I Go Wrong

I wrote the following on April 25, 2011, 11:21:01 AM.

These are fine moments in life! If there is a time to allow yourself to live in your head it is when you find yourself being liked by someone you like too. Right now before many words are spoken, before many actions are taken, thoughts of the possibilities exist without the constraints of reality. There is nothing now so the only possibility is that of anything. It doesn’t last long. Words will be spoken, actions will be taken, reality will soon introduce something that begins to shape the future by eliminating certain possibilities.

This will happen because that is what happens. One moment becomes another as time rolls on. No matter what becomes of it, it is fun to stop and think about a bunch of things that are not there, yet or never will be.

I dream about a future that does not exist, I float through thoughts of things that are pleasing, exciting, confronting, enjoying them, trying things on to see if they are something I’d like to do. Then, I being to manufacture the circumstances by which I’m  able to make the chosen dreams a reality. Setting-up meetings and making excuses to chat, all the while releasing my mind from my commitments to the old dreams that don’t seem to matter anymore. I change my attitudes, my behaviors, and the way I think about life.

It’s obvious where this was coming from and it’s obvious to me why it doesn’t work very effectively for anything other than creating a muse, and heart ache. It helps me write, it helps me feel like I am alive after feeling dormant and waiting for so long, it does feel like it’s real and like it’s what I’ve been wanting for so long. But it won’t last because it isn’t real. It is fantasy tangent taking me away from that which they know into a world that cannot possibly come true.

It’s a poets love, rooted in make-believe and about to melt down.

Refinding My Passion For RPM

When I first started teaching RPM back in 2007 with release 33 my desire to be the best instructor possible was insane! Even for me, I was single-minded. It was easy to get lost in because it let me work really hard and there was structure to follow and I tend to do better with structure when I’m starting off with something new.

I taught as much as I could and started to get better. I got a little burned out in the first 6 months because I did it so much, but my energy came back when I went down to 2 classes a week. My passion for RPM has stayed pretty high up until about 6-9 months ago when I started to dread it. I taught decent enough classes, but they weren’t really doing much for me. I drifted over to focus on my own cycling classes and released myself from any RPM. I had considered giving it up completely.

In early June release 51 arrived and when I got it I thought about it wondering if I would care enough to learn it as well as I need to. I listened to it, loved track two – Halfway Gone and basically played it over and over again.

A little while after that an instructor friend copied me on a message to a new cycling instructor saying that I loved what I did and may be of some service to him as he finds his way. He has the fire for RPM like I had fire 4 years ago. He’s really driven to improve and be better than he was yesterday. Each day needs to show some improvement and he’s going to the limit to have the experiences he needs to be better. It’s contagious and I caught it!

The last few classes I have taught have been some of my best in the last couple of years! They’ve been a lot of fun, I’ve known the choreography because I’ve heard the songs 100’s of time and the right words and coaching seem to flow out of me spontaneously and with no conscious effort. A few participants have commented that it’s nice to see me back to what I was doing before. The classes were okay before, fun and hard working, but it has been evident that my mind was not completely on-task. This weeks classes have seen me being completely present with the participants, working them, coaching them and leading them again, both in body and in spirit. I’ve really enjoyed the trip back to and rediscovering my one of my passions.

So for me, release 51 has been paired with release 33 as significant and, in many ways, life changing. It’s a wicked release and I’m really looking forward to teaching this week!

Why You Are So Screwed-up – Part 1 Nature

Okay, you aren’t that screwed-up, but you aren’t entirely right are you? Life doesn’t seem to flow the way it does for other people. Everyone else seems to have an easier time with things. Happiness for others is simply a matter of smiling, for you it’s a matter of getting or doing something to be happy about. Success for others is easier too, they just seem to put the time in and everything falls into place while for you, you work and struggle and battle the inertia of mediocrity for months to get the smallest piece of the pie only to find that it’s not apple, it’s made out of liver and dirt and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

But the thing you may be missing is that everyone is you. We all have the same types of struggles as you and we are all prone to make the same mistakes as others. They are suffering life as you are suffering life and they look at you and think the same things you do when you look at them – life is so easy for you while I have to struggle. It’s people, it’s our innate perspective to view us as the center of everything, struggling against all the odds to carve out a tiny piece of happiness, that everyone else is trying to steal.

And as weird and paranoid as all of this may sounds, it is true from an evolutionary and therefore genetic point of view. Your body is running a program, the foundation of which was written during a period of time when the above, based on scarcity, was true. EVERYONE and EVERYTHING was out to take what you had; be it your shelter, your partner, your food, your off-spring or your life. Our ancestors did have to take on this me against the world approach or else they would get killed or not reproduce. Simply put, the paranoid attitude that flows out of us so easily is there because we’ve evolved to have it as our default emotional state.

But this program is antiquated. It hasn’t really been relevant in western society for a long time because of an excess of everything. We have specialization of labor, shelter, and laws so we now have the ability to engage the world in reflective ways vs. immediate or survival terms. Our ability to fire our fight or flight response using thoughts is actually a hindrance in an environment of excess because there is no real need to empower a reactive logic-inhibiting system. The successful happy people spend as little time reacting to their emotions because they understand the role they plays and what they are good for, and what they are really bad at.

What does that mean?

Well, simply put, you need to start using logic or rational thinking more and your emotional system less. Very very simple to say, tough to understand and even tougher to put into practice until you know what it feels like.

What does that look or flow like?

Your actions are direct and goal orientate; something in your environment will change as a result of the decisions your make and the actions you take. This is different from the emotional approach which tends to engender a sense of fear and loss which stirs fear / anger and then action to address these negative feelings as opposed to the trigger. There should be a sense of peace and a feeling of improved momentum – as though you are building up speed and power on a purposeful journey. And your life will get better! Not only will things begin to get easier, but you’ll soon notice that a there are a lot of people in the world who aren’t out to get you or wanting to see you fail. In fact, you will begin to draw in people who take the same logical problem solving approach to their life.

In conclusion to part 1, you are screwed-up because your biology favors you acting in a way that promotes a sense of scarcity and therefore a strong desire to hold onto what you have; even if this means acting in a wildly illogical way. This is because the environment from which our species evolved favored those individuals who possessed this trait – the code that shapes behavior is selfish because it was written when being selfish offered a survival advantage. Part 2 will deal with the nurture aspect of the equation, which we have a lot more control over and which has a much bigger influence on us than foundation program that influences consciousness.

Go Train Confusion

An east bound train pulls into Oakville station at 2:25pm on track 2 and not track 3, which was the track they posted for the next east bound train, at 2:28pm. The platform 3 is pretty full. There was a moment for about 5 seconds after the train stopped when things just continued as normal. But then it happened, the herd became individuals and things got interesting.

As the train pulled-up and stopped I did wonder why it was there. If that’s the train I need and I miss it, my plans are blown. If that is my train, I need to be on it so I need to move. I look up and there are people making the way to the stairs, I move with them. Decision made and action taken.

As I walk I’m looking around, most people are still standing there waiting. I drift over to the track, look back and see nothing. No train coming, not for miles anyway. I continue to the stairs and find my way to track 2.

I get on the train and take a seat where I am able to see the track 3 platform where about 10% of the people still stood.

The announcement was made that track 2 was the 2:28pm east bound train and the remaining people began to make their way over to the train. I asked one of the last people why they waited and didn’t go with the herd and she said that she was just going to assume the board was correct until they made an announcement. She was not moving until the official word was given.

There was a lot of social referencing going. The early adopters needed one person to go and that left 90% of the people still waiting standing. As time past, the chances of a 2:28pm train being on track 3 decreased and people started the move to track 2; their confidence in track 3 decreased and their confidence in track 2 increase. After a certain point, around 2:28pm everyone who was on the platform would likely remain there until they get official word. They would have let the train leave the station if it hadn’t come.

I moved because that seemed like the most probable outcome given the situation, and my confidence in that decision was boosted by other people taking the same action I committed to. But it was odd. At the moment there really wasn’t enough information to go on, just a guess based on the information that was available, the experiences I’ve had and a willingness to take a risk and leave the herd.

Post Concussion Syndrome – Life In A Dirty Pit

Over the last few years, I was able spend some time with Rachel after she received a couple of concussions. She had a few moments of bad luck and knocked her head off some ice and off a dresser. The ice one left her unable to remember key peoples names for about 6 hours, the dresser turned her into a paranoid crazy person for a week or so. It was a challenge to watch because she was suffering, it was evident, and because she wasn’t normally a paranoid person. What was actually frightening about it was that SHE was convinced that she was feeling herself. Her athletic therapist friend Louise called during an argument about me trying to hurt and change her and simply told me that if Rachel wasn’t acting herself, take her to the hospital because there’s a good chance that she’s injured her brain. It took about 4 weeks for her to return to normal and her recovery was an emotional roller coaster of up and down mood, forgetting simple things and struggling to find the right words or thought.

I had the misfortune of sustaining another concussion a few weekends ago. It’s funny looking back at it because I was able to rationalize a lot of craziness that doesn’t make any sense to me now. I was messed up yet I felt like I was fine and everyone else just changed.

The injury was fairly simple, horsing around while white water rafting, and I jumped off the boat spinning and twisting all erratically. I hit the water spinning, tumbling and on the side of my head. There was a stillness when I hit the water, after a massive slam to the side of my head followed by a hissing. I remember floating up to the surface of the water thinking “oh oh, that was stupid.” I was dazed and confused as I swam back to the boat. I couldn’t hear anything from my left ear, had a head ache, was having some trouble figuring out how to get back into the raft and I was beginning to feel sick to my stomach.

We ate a few minutes later, but I had to leave a few times to throw-up. I was beginning to get irritable and a little paranoid, the sickness and headache were building and I was looking around at people wondering who they were and why I’d be in conversations with them. We got back on the boat and things continued to degrade. The head ache and sickness were becoming really bad and I thought about sitting out the next set of rapids, the Coliseum, because I had a feeling the boat was going over. I stayed on and, as expected, the boat threw-out all but one person. My next memories after feeling the boat void its contents into the river were of being underwater, eyes open looking around wondering if I was going to hit the rocks I saw coming at me or if I would be able to float to the surface. Well, I did both.

I didn’t need the second impact to make my day any worse, but I got it. We got out of the water and I puked my face off. My head was killing, my knee was opened-up and I was becoming unhinged. We get off the water about 20 minutes later and I throw-up again. We get back to the camp grounds, I go and change, get sick and start drink water hoping that I’m just dehydrated. But the camp ground isn’t the same as it was when I left. I looks the same, but I don’t belong there. I don’t know any of the people anymore, even the people I’m there with, and I have a growing level of suspicion of everyone. I begin to withdraw into myself because I feel so wrong.

At this point I start to notice that my left ear is leaking. It’s mostly a clear fluid, but there’s a little blood in it. This did not register with me at the time. Simply put, I thought “my ear is leaking. I guess it should be, I hurt it” without so much of a thought about lumping the symptoms together to get a more complete view of what was going on. Head impact leading to  head ache, confusion, irritability, paranoia, nausea, and fluid leaking from the ear. I don’t realize it yet, but for the next week I am going to be this new person, someone who was very much like Rachel after she banged her head on the dresser. A confused shell of a man, small, weak, scared, in a daze, with only flashes of memories from of the time between rafting and, well, right now.

When I visited the doctor they told me my ear drum has a sizable rupture so there must have been some impact. They said it should heal within 6 weeks so my hearing should be fine but that I need to see a specialist to make sure things are normal. They didn’t think much about me not going to the hospital to get checked-out once the fluid started coming from the ear but they weren’t surprised either because if I had a concussion I wasn’t going to be thinking right. Concussions are tough to diagnose, impossible days after the fact, but based on the symptoms and what happened, there’s a good chance I had one, but we’ll never actually know.

All in all, this recovery left me feeling drained, emotionally empty, and completely confused. This was a “in the pits” type recovery that is both extremely erratic and wildly irrational. I’m more than 10 days out and this morning is the first morning since it happened that I have finally gotten a handle on what has been going on.

Living And Loving With Blinding Passion

Living and loving with blinding passion, the gift of life, for me at least. Dropping into the moment in high gear and building speed. Eyes closed seeing what I want to be and acting like it is. The world outside a medium for to move, control and shape, to make whatever is firing me exist as it feels it should be.

Cycling, training, writing, hiking, lifting weights, instructing, all done with almost all of my effort, when I am dialed in and bleeding passion. And I enjoy a tremendous amount of success with action activities when I’m present and burning for them. Single minded and unstoppable. It’s great to observe someone pour all of themselves into something and it’s even better when I pull back to myself and realize that I have been watching ms. It’s flow and it feels pure energy and absolute power. And in many ways it is. I’ve created a world in which I am moving effortlessly, taking positive action in service to the passion I’m feeling about, whatever.

A lot of my life is fantastic. When I’m fulfilling my passions I float happily building more and more passion. It flames hotter and hotter, and there’s no way, when I think about it right now, that I’m engaging the world logically. Which doesn’t matter much with most things, in fact, approaching training and athletic stuff with moderate intensity gets you about 50% of the results. Achieving your potential in anything requires 100% of your effort so an overly active passionate emotional response or drive is what is required. People like seeing results of intensity and they need to be coached and trained with passion. I’m doing a lot of the right things in my life because most of the time there is very little push-back when I attack the world with my passionate needs expecting to be expressed.

But, the gift of living completely in a moment has a big down side. A lot of what is going on is only going on in my head. And I make the mistake of interpreting a lack of push-back as confirmation that the world is actually behaving the way it is for the reason I think it is; which is really easy to do when you’ve throttled up the passion and started taking action to make it happen. When the push-back comes, I start to suffer very quickly. I become unhappy and begin to take action to remove the obstruction. Fired up with intensity I engage the road block to restore things to how they need to be. This gets the hill climbed, the weight lifted, the class working to exhaustion. But when the expression of your passion is linked to another person and when its actualization depends on a shared objective and agreed expectations, any misinterpretation caused by the state of passion can be a future problem. Unlike a dead-lift, what other people feel and think isn’t something that can just be lifted out of the way.

Sometimes I forget this, sometimes when I’m really passionate I get angry at my clients for not following the nutrition advice they asked me for and said they would follow. Sometimes I’ll get frustrated when someone else is using a bench that I want to use with a client. I can get thrown off slightly when people talk in my class, and I think to myself that maybe they should shut-up.

Romantic relationships is an area which is most susceptible to distortions when it comes to expectations and objectives. It can take a while to discover who you are around someone you are falling in love with so for the first while, who they are is who you think they are and what they are going to do is what you expect they are going to do. But do you know this? Unless you’ve had a clear conversation about expectations, moving forward based on your own assumptions will eventually lead to disappointment. The degree of disappointment is going to be proportionately related to how heavily my passion has been invested in the expectation that was distorted.

All in all, my approach is fairly good, but it’s just in need of some adjustment. Now what that adjustment is, I’m not entirely sure but I’m confident it will be uncovered very soon!

Weekend Recap – Reasons, Actions, Results

Friend and mentor Chris Brown emailed me this week, excited about his weekend rediscovered of some important lessons he lost over the last few months. This is the way with important life lessons. They aren’t spontaneous so you need to do your homework and practice them in order for them to be of any value. You have to work diligently to make them your new normal.

In explaining the weekend re-enlightenment he said:

A few things stuck out at me during the weekend. One was a distinction that you get results or make up reasons, but you cant have both. I naturally always make up reasons simply because I analyze everything, but I didn’t realize that that takes up time in which I could be getting results which would actually move me forward. The other one was a distinction that your views create your actions. I realized this in terms of studying and reading as I noticed a drop-off there. I viewed myself as not as good as some of those trainers we read stuff by on the internet, so my actions represented my view of myself being lesser…”why try?” summed up the lack of motivation there quite well. Stuff like that.

Off to take some more “unreasonable action” as they call it.

That is outstanding! It captures the essence of so much of what seems to paralyze people who are prone to spending a lot of time in their head. If I’m not busy, I start to lose productivity very quickly. If I have time and don’t really like how things are going, it’s easy to come-up with reason why things are the way they are. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong. But even if I’m right, I don’t really benefit. If I haven’t taken an action to move my life forward in a way that I know I can actually move my life forward, I haven’t really done anything of reasonable value.

A lack of action to improve ones situation is going to have a penetratingly inhibiting impact on how they view the world and their ability to do anything to make it better. This doubt stains the future before they even create it because it primes the brain with the tone needed to facilitate the experience it needed to validate the dirty world view.

I do that. Not all the time, but I do it and I keep forgetting that I do it. Thanks for the weekend recap Chris! Thank you for sharing it.

No Plan B = Full Engagement In Plan A

Had a conversation recently with a guy who was a good pitcher when he was younger. He got hurt at 17 (glenoid labrum tear), missed US scholarships and never fully recovered his throwing. He attended university in Canada, got a degree and started working. He did really well in all his jobs and stated building his resume. This is where he is right now, not 100% content with what he is doing because it isn’t what he dreamed he would be doing when he was younger.

“I didn’t have a plan B. Why would someone have a plan B? That’s like already accepting that you may not and that’s as good as saying you won’t. Why introduce doubt?”

He didn’t consider any other option when he was young and developing as a pitcher. He needed to keep his mind free of negative influence so he could pitch well each game and he knew that, over the long haul, a little bit of doubt each day would eventually move him off the path to the pro league. It was an intense and single minded approach that did get him to the top of his game, scouted and with a number of interested NCAA schools. Unfortunately, his body wasn’t able to keep up to the demands of the training and throwing and it shut down a year before it was needed to be at it’s best to showcase what he could deliver.

He didn’t mention regret for having not considered anything other than professional baseball. There was disappointment for the dream not working out, but he knows that he wouldn’t have gotten as far if he had considered what would happen if he didn’t make it to the top. He did his best when he had the chance to do it and that is enough for him to not regret it. He had been 100% focused on the goal of becoming one of the top pitchers in the country and had not wavered a single step along the way. This allowed him to reach his physical potential, and it very nearly worked out for him the way he had dreamed it. It also created an enormous amount of self-confidence because he knew he had the character to give something everything he was.

It was a great conversation and it left me feeling really uplifted. His passion and intensity had been focused on one extraordinary goal – as opposed to one extraordinary goal and one less noteworthy goal – and it had taken him as far as he was going to go. He knew that by creating a second lesser goal he’d actually be making that his primary goal. No plan B meant full engagement in plan A.