Andrew’s Blog

Oops...I did it again! Posted on August 02, 2014, 0 Comments

 

For those of you who have been following some of my recent posts or are in a state of fragility at the moment, protect your head cause here comes another one of my infamous jabs of truth:

While there is really only one type of cholesterol, idiots come in all shapes and sizes.

Some of you didn't cover up, did you?  People!  People!  You really gotta get those hands up!  Maybe work on that confidence and self ownership a bit more, too.  But, narcissism--now that one you've got--since you appear to think whatever I write is aimed specifically at you.

But I truly don't think you're an idiot.  Heck, depending on who you are, I might not even know you.  And even if we have met; even if we've worked or played together, why would you think I was referring to you?  Is there something in our past relationship which makes you think I was calling you out?  Or is it more plausible that some aspect of your relationship with Self is throwing you under the bus?

At worse I think you're misinformed.  You've been lied to--often by folks who have agendas which are financial, religious, political, or otherwise (these were actually the object of my name-calling).  Of course, many of the misinformed are just regurgitating what they were taught--sometimes by people who were simply misinformed themselves.  It's a vicious cycle and hard to break until we learn to think for ourselves.

So let's examine the quote: "there is only one type of cholesterol".  That's true.  While some people may like to reference HDL and LDL or IDL, VLDL, etc, these are actually types of lipoproteins and not cholesterol (the differences I explain--and hopefully not too tediously--in my forthcoming book).

The statement "idiots come in all shapes and sizes" is a bit more subjective, however.  It's also the reason why I'm currently spending time on this post rather than working on my book.  Yet, I enjoy almost any type of writing and consider it good practice.  Besides, I fully expected a firestorm reaction.  And I have to say--you all did not disappoint.

One of the comments I received was "if you have the role of teacher coach, why not just teach it without using pejoratives or name calling?  Good teaching doesn't require it."  And I would answer that question (maddeningly) with a question: aren't we all teachers?  Now, if that's not a thought you've ever considered, I can assure you that the example we're living everyday is a lesson for others.

Are we working or training beyond our bodies' capacity to adapt?  Do we get enough sleep?  Do the people who love and depend on us see us taking care of ourselves or are we showing them that health isn't as important as fancy cars and big houses?  Do others see us recycling and think twice before they unconsciously throw something in the trash?  Does our family admire our dedication for pursuing a passion or for standing up for what we believe?

The author of the above comment (and I'm sure she's not alone) obviously believes that my choice of words was in poor taste.  And neither her view nor any of the actions referenced above are right or wrong--they're just opinions or choices.  I think that often the feelings or beliefs we associate with a word, a food or even an event cause us to react in ways we ourselves can't explain.  Although sometimes the reason is all too clear.

I was racing in Belgium back in the mid 1990's when I suffered my second concussion.  Strung out single file, the leaders were riding in the gutter so that everyone had to fight the wind which was blowing from the left like a brick wall.  I was six inches off the wheel ahead of mine focusing all my faith on the anonymous rider in front of me.  The concrete median which exploded into consciousness a millisecond before I slammed into it immediately broke my bike, my body, and my trust.  My season was over.  And so was my career if I couldn't overcome the mind virus which infected me that day.  It told me to quit.  It told me cycling was too dangerous.  Every time the wind shifted and shaped the peloton into a long, thin line at the very edge of the road, an urgent whisper begged me to back off the wheel in front; to ease my pedaling, to open up a small gap.  Facing the wind was easier than facing the fear.  And the void which was growing kept getting larger.  Yet I knew that if I didn't close the gap soon, I would never be able to bridge it.

That virus still lives inside of me along with many others.  I really don't know if you can kill them once they take hold.  The only thing to do is recognize when they're flaring up.  That way, it becomes somewhat of a symbiotic relationship.  Each time you become aware that some past infection is working to get you to think or act a certain way, you have the potential to take your consciousness to a new level.  And every time you succeed, you inevitably bring someone up with you.

One of the reasons I blog or post on FB is the knowledge I want to share--a message of personal and environmental health which I believe is sorely needed right now.  And I fully realize I cannot do it alone.  So I offer it to a larger audience knowing they can help me make the impact I envision.  But we're bearing this message to a health and nutrition world which is flat and consider us heretics for believing it's round.  They're going to yell at us.  They'll berate us and ridicule us.  They already call us worse than idiots for threatening their ideology and maybe even their security.  So those who aren't comfortable with the vernacular I use in random posts, I honestly do understand and appreciate your point.  But it also tells me that perhaps you simply aren't in a place to help me--not right now at least.

Those with whom I've had the pleasure to train or coach have probably all had different experiences with me.  If they didn't reference my height, you might think they were talking about completely separate people.  My relationship with each one of them is unique, requiring a set of skills I adapt and adjust according to the individual.  And whether I am harder or easier on a client, I always try to handle each case with care.  Every one of us is fragile in different ways.  So, I've learned to listen to my intuition.  And she rarely steers me wrong.  Thus, for those of you with reservations about my tone or choice of words or even the information in that post, maybe you were not my intended audience.  And if that's the case, is it feasible that a pejorative was exactly what one of my readers needed in order to fully understand the point I was making?  Why take that opportunity away from them just to make yourself more comfortable with the conversation? My choice of words can be a strong stimulus--one over which you have no control, no say.  Indeed, your only power (though it's stronger than many of you may realize) lies in your reaction to that stimulus.  Nobody can make you feel a certain way via actions or words unless you allow them to.  So take ownership for what you're creating moment to moment.  That's one of the key steps toward health.  But it's not easy!  Hell, I am far from perfect at it myself.  But we can all get more proficient at it with practice.  A quote which has really helped me in this regard is one of Arnold Patent's 24 Universal Principles which reads:


I acknowledge the circumstances of my life and know that I am responsible for them.  Without judging myself or anyone, I take responsibility for their creation.  I now open myself to experience everything according to my ideal.

There are no accidents in the Universe.  We always receive what we want.  Since many of our wants are subconscious, the only foolproof way to know what we want is to see what we have.  Once we are willing to take total responsibility for everything we experience, we offer ourselves the opportunity to experience the ideal and be peaceful and joyful under all circumstances.

 

For those of you who've made it this far with me, you may find the following entry enlightening: http://triumphtraining.com/blogs/blog/14996905-found-in-translation.  It's kinda the prequel to everything I wrote about today.   And one thing's for sure--it shows that I should definitely stick to cycling as it's obvious I don't box that well.  I keep getting hit by my own punches--even the ones I saw coming from a mile away.  Either way, I'd like to thank each of you who has joined me in taking responsibility for themselves.  There is a collective consciousness which is changing because of you.  And I'm beginning to like where it's taking us.   

Found In Translation Posted on July 30, 2014, 0 Comments

Below is an e-mail I received this a.m. from a friend and client of mine. The author is a gifted athlete with brains to match. And like almost all of the people I'm attracting into my business over the past several years, he's a beautiful person with good energy that always leaves me looking forward to the next time I can see him. So when I saw whom the e-mail was from, I was psyched. Here it is, unedited except for his name:


Hope you're doing well. I've been tempted to write this email one or two times before, but didn't know if you would be open to the feedback. So, with the hope that you are, I'll take the chance of putting my thoughts into words.

Your post on FB this morning and a few others over the past year or so, cause me to bristle. For the most part, I perceive comments like this as righteously superior and/or insulting. This is perplexing to me as I know you not to be this way in person. While the technical merits of your post are completely on point, the manner with which you make your point is off-putting to me because it seems to chastise us (your audience) for our ignorance, as if you are better than us so therefore we can be treated with less regard. As you know, everyone is ignorant of something, most folks like me don't like it when we perceive we are being spoken down to because of said ignorance, and -- here's the good news -- ignorance is very fixable. Your knowledge, experience, and credentials position you well to fix a lot of ignorance and help folks achieve new levels of wellness and performance.

I point this out because if other friends/clients/readers of your posts have a similar reaction, then you're missing the opportunity to make a connection that could lead to more business and/or provide valuable information that could be of great benefit to us. If your goal is to make an important point but the point doesn't "land" because of how it was communicated, then the desired effectiveness of your message is diminished.

So, from one brother in humankind to another, I hope you hear this in the spirit with which I feel it, which is one of respect and high regard for you.

Thanks for listening,


As you might imagine, I was a bit bummed. In part, because I had half expected him to tell me about a recent P.R. (the guy's breaking his own records all the time). But the other part is I could recognize the validity of his e-mail. There are likely lots of people with whom I am just not resonating. And it's quite possibly for different reasons for each one of them. Maybe it's my tone of delivery. Or maybe it's the message. Or maybe it's the perfect storm of circumstances which made whatever point I was trying to make get hopelessly lost in delivery. It could be an infinite number of possibilities as we all have different experiences which color how we perceive any aspect of the world.

I believe that most people are simply doing the best they can with what they have. And that includes both the saints and the sinners--if those entities even exist. I don't really believe they do as that implies some type of judgment. And who am I to judge them? I haven't lived what they've lived. I haven't seen what they've seen. Even if we "saw" the same thing: I had a visual experience through my eyes; I processed what I saw via my own corneas, my own rods and cones, my own optic nerve even; and then that electrical impulse traveled through my brain which has been shaped by every other site, sound, smell, taste, touch, or thought I've ever had.

No, I cannot judge another. And when I catch myself attempting to, as one of my mentors says, I "put it in my pocket". It usually means whatever character trait I'm about to criticize is actually in me. I've been fortunate enough to have some incredible mentors who have taught me some life-changing lessons. One of the most important is that the idea of judgment doesn't really serve me. So I've (mostly) outgrown it. I've replaced it with empathy. But to do that, I had to take the skills my teachers were offering and apply them—to me.

I look back at some of the dumb shit I've done; some of the embarrassing crap I've said. And as humbling as some of those experiences are in retrospect, I understand that I was just doing the best I could at the time--with my knowledge, with my money, with the support from my friends and family; with my instincts that had been honed by every event in my life. And the cool thing is, each one of these "mistakes" has made me who I am today. And though I'm not perfect, I am the perfect representation of me. Just as you are the perfect representation of you. So what is there to judge about perfection? Of course, some may say that the label of perfect is a judgment. But it's not if it it's the truth. It just is.

The specific Facebook post my friend was referring to is

I suck running/cycling up hills" translates into Kinesiology terms as "the government is my dietician, I don't strength train properly, I have no idea how to integrate my upper body with my lower body, and I believe I can't.

Does that post cause you to bristle, too? If so, please know that this was not my intention. Unless, of course, that bristling makes you so uncomfortable that you look a bit deeper to see if there's anything in that statement which may apply to you. And if it creates enough introspection that you realize there's negative talk running through your head; that the conversation was started long ago before you had the maturity and strength to keep it from taking root in your psyche. If your bristling from that statement gets you to believe you are your own so own yourself, then--yeah, I meant to do that! I believe it was Osho who said that sometimes the role of the teacher is to punch you in the nose. And love is my left hook.

While I have been very successful helping people with physical-mental-emotional-spiritual issues, I've had my share of failures, too. But like all my other thousands of missteps or "bad" decisions, it's part of the experience which is me. And I try to teach from that experience. It's really the only way I know how. I may read a book or attend a class about a specific subject. But I won't claim to know it—indeed, I won't even teach it—until I've had the experience of applying it to myself first. And though I truly want to help everyone realize their full potential as human beings, I understand that won't always happen. It once was said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I may not be that teacher. But it doesn't mean the lesson isn't worth learning.

So I know I'm rambling here. I do that—it's part of me, and I accept it in all its perfection (even if it annoys the crap out of some of my readers who wish I would just get to the point). And I'm also aware that I may once again sound condescending or "righteously superior". But I want to tell my friend personally and put it out there globally that I am ignorant, too. Everything I teach has been learned by doing the exact opposite (or at least differently) in the past. I once followed the USDA's food pyramid. I even worked out on machines back in the day. Every post I write was inspired first by me. I am my own best muse....And if anything I want to use all of my "errors" to save you sorrow and hardship, disease and pain. I want to offer my life's journey to expedite your evolution. Our evolution. For I am no better or worse than you.

I am you.

I relearn that truth everyday. So I thank the author of the above e-mail. My nose is still smarting from the lesson you so eloquently taught. And I hope by blogging about it, I can pass this knowledge on to others who may need the occasional jab of honesty.


Even before I started writing this post, I had intended to ask the permission of the e-mail’s author if I could use it on my website. Here is his response:

Hi Andrew,

I am almost without words to describe my surprise and awe at your proposed response to my email. When I wondered if you would be open to the feedback, this exceeds any and every expectation that I had.

First, I am totally cool if this is how you would like to make use of my email. I am so pleased you received it as I had hoped.

Second, even if you heard me and responded with something like, "I hear you, Casey, but this is how I roll. I like being provocative and provoking reactions in people. It's what I do." I would have accepted that. So, thanks for your concern about static but I respect who you are and what you do to the point of it's cool to disagree on content and/or style. We get to make our own choices. I enjoy the connection we have, too, and wouldn't let something like this stand in our way.

Third, I love to read your writing. It is clear to me you have a great talent. You express yourself with a clear, distinct voice, make compelling arguments, and your prose is enjoyable and easy to consume. I aspire to write as well as you one day.

Fourth, I indeed owe you one or more emails of thanks and praise for my continued progress as an endurance athlete. I didn't really plan to go into running full time, but I'm just riding the wave of positive energy and enjoying it for as long as it might last. Your strength coaching is a major contributor to my continued growth and staying well.

Fifth, one day I look forward to sharing and comparing perspectives and philosophies about life. Your response to my email echoes many of my own personal beliefs and core values. And while we apparently arrived at them through very different paths, having them in common speaks to our kindred spirit, I believe.

Lastly, I need to set up an appointment with you in the next few weeks, this time in particular to see how I can up my game in the stretching/flexibility domain. I don't believe I'm tapping into most of my potential just yet.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow with you and because of you.

 

Likewise, my friend. 

The Power of Thought Posted on January 19, 2014, 0 Comments

Gratitude Holds No Comparison Posted on August 05, 2013, 15 Comments

I’m no longer in remission.

Actually, I haven’t been in remission since early February.  But I had just had a horrific crash (which you can read about here: http://triumphtraining.com/blogs/blog/7233404-reality-crash.)  So when my BCR/ABL tests came back, I thought the trauma of my injuries might account for the slight increase in levels.  Determined to convince myself, I looked back over my health records and found a BCR/ABL from 2009 where my numbers jumped up but dropped back down to undetectable on the next test.  An anomaly, my doctor called it.  Yet part of me knew that just because my cancer can’t be found doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Still, the latest test showed a minor bump.  From undetectable to .001%.  The test from 2009 saw an increase to .009%.  So I quieted the voices which try to champion doubt in my head and waited to see what April’s results would show.

.002%.

Two in a row.  A minor increase.  But for the first time since I had gone into molecular remission in May of 2006, the numbers were going the wrong way. 

My hematologist advised me to increase the chemo I take every day back to the standard dosage.  For years I had been weaning myself down.  Ever since my liver enzymes exploded off the charts as a plea against the onslaught of chemicals they had to face daily, I had decided I wouldn’t let the treatment kill me.  Besides, the healthier a person is, the greater a response that person will get from a particular intervention.  So I followed my intuition and gradually decreased my dosage after each BCR/ABL test proved my theory to be true.  But now my belief was starting to crumble. 

And that may have been the hardest part.  Everything I stand for centers around belief in the body.  Belief in the mind.  It’s what I preach every day.  It’s the foundation of my practice.  Both with my clients and with myself.  I knew the chemo polluted my body.  And the fact that I could be so absolutely dependent on it to stay alive sickened me.  I felt like a hypocrite—warning people against the dangers of drugs and conventional medicine and encouraging them to trust in Nature and the infinite capacity of the body to heal.  Yet I couldn’t even do that myself.

“These pills have Love in them.  And that Love is what helps me heal.”  This had been my blessing before I swallowed the orange colored tablets each day.  I wanted to put the power not in the pills but somewhere else—anywhere else.  Yet when the follow up results from July’s BCR/ABL came back, I just wished the pills were still working.

But they weren’t.

.004%.  Three increases in a row.  And though small, it was the rate of increase troubling my doctors.  The shelf life for Gleevec was typically three to five years, and I was at eight and half.  So that this day had come shouldn’t have surprised me.  But I had convinced myself that it was my lifestyle which kept me healthy, not the damn drugs. 

Darkness like I hadn’t felt since I was first diagnosed threatened to overwhelm me.  I thought of my son growing up without his dad—wondering if he’s reached an age yet when he’d remember me if I'm not around.  The massage I give him before he goes to bed at night.  The games of soccer or dodge ball or made up ones with made up names.  Will Di have enough money when I’m gone?  We got life insurance on me right before I was diagnosed, but it’s a trivial amount.  How can she handle raising our son by herself?  Maybe she’d find someone.  And she would deserve so much to find love again.  But—God Damn It—who gets whom in Heaven?  And while I know that’s not how it all works and my thoughts are probably childish, I can’t help myself.  I got dibs!

Diana and I shared some fears in common, but I still felt terribly alone.  Maybe some of that was harboring our secret for six months.  We hadn’t told anyone since nothing was definitive.  And even when the second BCR/ABL gave our worry validation we didn’t tell anyone until the tests came back in July.  My family and Diana’s family were the first to know.  But others would catch Di in tears when she thought she was by her self, and I can’t lie for shit.  Soon word would spread.  It already has and many of you have humbled me with your words of support.  And though I know healing is found within, the voices of love and encouragement help nourish the soil from which it grows.       

We’re off to M.D. Anderson tomorrow to see what our next steps should be.  It will likely be a second generation Gleevec—a Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor like the one I’m on now but more powerful.  Similar side effects with a few doozies just to keep you on your toes.  A few of which could put you in the grave, but I plan on focusing on what I want rather than what I don’t want.  Cause the truth of the matter is, it could be worse.  I was supposed to lose all my hair with Gleevec.  So if I do on this new drug, I can just blame it on old age.  After all, I’m 41 now.  Don’t really feel it, of course. 

And that’s one way I realize I’m so fortunate.  Most people with CML don’t race triathlons.  Most Leukemia Survivors don’t win Ironman races or qualify for Kona.  Hell, just being able to swim a length of the pool, ride around the block, or run after my son is a gift.  One for which I should be grateful.  And I am.  But I’m not grateful because there are others who can’t.  That’s not Gratitude.  I’m grateful because I can.  To me true Gratitude is predicated on nothing.  It stands alone.  It supports itself. 

The median age for onset of my disease is 65.  I’ve gotten a quarter century jump on coming to terms with mortality.  Maybe more even, compared to some who never give a thought to their days on this earth.  And while there is a gift to knowing that every moment is precious, I sometimes can’t help but long for the innocence of youth.  A week ago, Di and I were at the pool with Declan.  Tired of introspection, I started looking around.  And I saw all these people, many of whom were obviously not the most healthy in the world.  All of whom probably had their own stories--we all do.  Yet, I bet there were only a handful if any who were giving thought to dying right then. No one should have to bear that.  But all of us should get the chance.

To use passion and profession interchangeably is a blessing I never thought I’d have when I was forced to put down the bike.  Professional cycling had been my dream.  So when that third concussion convinced me to hang up my wheels, my identity was lost.  I had lost my equilibrium and couldn’t seem to right myself.  Yet through that experience, I realized that it’s my role in this life to show people how to live.  I get to do that every day.  And each day I wake up I get the chance to pursue my new dreams.  My mentor once told me that it may be my destiny to show people how to die, too.  And if that’s true, I hope to do so with grace.  Not because I’m trying to be something that I’m not.  But because I’m grateful for all that I am.   

I may no longer be in remission.  But I am finally cured.

Releasing the Past, Living in the Present Posted on May 28, 2013, 0 Comments

I now let go of all negative or distorted thoughts and memories.  The past no longer exists.  I allow Universal Intelligence to lovingly support me in my present circumstance.  

We hold onto the past by judging it.  We release past judgments by forgiving ourselves and others at a deep feeling level.

Fear of the past, present, or future, is a withholding of love from ourselves and others.  Pain is the manifestation of that fear in our bodies.  Pain and fear are self-created.  When the pain is persistent, practice feeling forgiveness for the persons involved (including one's self) until love and calm are felt.   

What the *Bleep* do We Know? Posted on May 18, 2013, 0 Comments


 

The Known Universe Posted on May 13, 2013, 0 Comments

 

Emotional Eating Posted on April 30, 2013, 0 Comments

It starts young.

Surrounded by family and friends at the Thanksgiving dinner table, you feel like you belong.  After a shot at the doctor's office, the pain disappears as your bravery is rewarded with the sweet taste of a sucker.  And even before you had the capacity to form explicit memories, a breast or a bottle or even a well-timed pacifier taught you that someone cared.

Then the food manufacturers step in and take it to a different level.  They know how your sense of smell is the most powerful trigger of memory.  They've been studying the science of taste since long before you could even wield a fork.  With top secret recipes, they manipulate the ingredients in your food.  A little more salt here.  A sprinkle of sugar there.  Like mad scientists, they play with different combinations, trying to find ways to control an old part of your brain called the appestat until you literally “can't eat just one." 

Or can you?

Look down at your hand.  I’m pretty sure you won’t see any strings attached there.  That an outcome is predicated on something outside your power to influence can be comforting.  Blaming government or your parents or just dumb luck allows you to shrug off any role your own actions may have played in getting you to where you are right now.  But the truth is, as much as you may not want to admit it, you do have control.  Yes, your parents gave you a genetic road map.  Circumstances may dictate the actual driving conditions on any given day.  But you’re the one who ultimately controls where your vehicle goes and how it gets there. 

Taking responsibility for yourself and what you’re creating from moment to moment is a scary idea.  It puts all the pressure on you.  The moment you realize that you’re wearing the results of every decision you’ve ever made can be intimidating.  Yet, having a bunch of experts or doctors or even patterns of behavior you turn to every time Life happens can easily keep you from recognizing your own guru—you.

And you is where your power lies. 

In various scenarios where life hangs in the balance, one of the characteristics which separates victims from survivors is the idea of control.  Survivors innately believe they have some sort of power.  They think they can affect the outcome of a particular situation.  And right or wrong, that belief allows them to become key players in their own destinies. 

You are a survivor.  You come from a long line of survivors or else you wouldn’t be here.  And regardless of the programming you have around eating; despite any memory you may have which binds you to a certain food or creates some culinary cage from which you can’t seem to escape—you are the one in control.  And that thought alone should empower you.  And if you allow them to, all of your thoughts can serve you the same way.

Trade in scapegoats for allies.  Rid yourself of blame and strengthen yourself with belief.  Your thoughts create your reality.  And while the past may have taught you how to use food to control your thoughts, that perspective is not only inaccurate—it doesn’t serve you anymore.  To survive now, allow yourself to take charge of your thoughts.  Own them and recognize when specific ones no longer contribute to the dream you want to create.  The one you want to live right now. 

The dichotomy of the Universe tells us that for every negative thought there must be a positive one.  Otherwise the negative would cease to exist.  So focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.  It may not come easy at first.  You’ve had a lifetime of learned behavior which is literally programmed into you at the subconscious level.  Some habits may be so deeply ingrained that they could take years to reverse.  But like anything else, success is predicated on consistency. 

So try being your own expert.  Seek guidance from the healer in you.  Practice being the optimist.  For when you do, every cell in your body shares that identity with you.  You can literally impact their chemical make up simply by changing the way you think.  And the most powerful nourishment you can offer your cells are ideas of Love, Gratitude, Health, and Chi.  More than food then, your body feeds on thought.  Feed it well, my friend.  And, more importantly, feed it Good.

Food Fight Posted on March 01, 2013, 0 Comments


 

Reality Crash Posted on January 24, 2013, 8 Comments

It was only the wrong place and the wrong time because I normally wouldn't have been there.  

When riding with a group, I can usually be found either off the back or off the front.  After three concussions, my M.O. is simple: stay out of harm's way.  Doctor's advice is never as strong as spousal admonishments, and, thankfully, I have both.  So the fact that I was next in line when several of the first placed riders hit the deck right in front of me was proof that I must have wanted to crash.  But as I t-boned the cyclist in front of me at 30mph, an adrenalin surge slowed time down enough for me to question my motivation.

I spun to my feet so fast that the majority of the peloton didn't realize I'd gone down.  And since I don't particularly like cold, I was wearing enough clothing that people couldn't tell what kind of damage was done anyway.  But I immediately knew my left arm was broken.  In an effort to prevent concussion #4, I put my hands out as I flew headfirst over the bars.  The shock ripped my radius out the back of my arm, leaving my left elbow quite a bit removed from its original location.  And based on the pain growing in my right arm, I was pretty sure it was broken, too.  I did a quick circle, trying to walk away from the carnage which I knew rightly included me.  The rest of the peloton was slowly coming to a stop as people got off their bikes to make sure everyone was o.k.

Everyone wasn't.  Several folks were on the ground, and a couple of them weren't getting up.  Broken collarbones and scapula, I'd hear later.  Ambulances were called.  Bikes were picked up and put back together.  A couple of my buddies helped me with my ride--the chain was off, and my arms weren't going to allow me to put it back on.  Guess they didn't want to ride anymore.  But the memory of an earlier ambulance ride which ended my cycling career was something I didn't want to relive.  So I didn't listen to the screaming pain in my arms as I straddled my bike and somehow started riding home.

Di had every right to be mad.  But she's been through this enough with me.  She's the ideal co-pilot, and we've survived more than crashes together.  Our life has often been one of the strong helping the weak.  Of supporting the other when life decided that Now needed to happen.  And I have no problem admitting that she's been the one to reach a hand down to me more than I've ever had to help her up.  

And while I know that we all could probably say the same about someone in our lives if we're brave enough to recognize them, the truth is everyone is in a constant relationship of giving and receiving care.  Or guidance.  Or instruction.  Even the folks we absolutely hate.  The ones who piss us off or disgust us for whatever reason.  Their presence in our lives is an offering.  Sometimes they're showing us aspects of ourselves we don't want to acknowledge exist.  After all, we're experiencing the world through our own senses, our own filters.  And we can only see in others that which exists in our own bodies/minds/souls.  That's true for all the beauty we see, hear, or feel as well as the ugliness we experience.

A trivial example of that teacher for me is the random smoker.  Especially the guy who, sitting at a stop light in his car, casually throws his cigarette butt out the window.  And even as anger rises up in me, I realize his complete lack of consciousness is a selfless act which reminds me how we are alike.  His act of thoughtlessness helps me become a bit more present for a while.  Gets me out of my head and aware of my own actions.  My own Present.  I realize I'm blessed to understand the importance of health.  I can get joy from the hints of green instead of being imprisoned by a concrete maze leading nowhere.  And that's just one person.  That's just a couple of many possible lessons!

In the picture below, you see me supporting my son.  But what you cannot see is the growth that being so incredibly necessary for another brings to me.  Or to you. 

The dimensions of relationships which exist among all of us are too intricate for me to explain.  I'll save that for brighter minds which understand the subject better than I ever could.  But what I do know is that we are here, in part, to help others.  If I had the use of both arms right now, I'd probably be out training.  The sun is enticing and the start of the 2013 triathlon season is drawing near.  My competition is right this very minute swimming or cycling or running or even lifting weights while I'm here pecking and searching with one finger and as one soul for my next words.

Someone asked me after the crash how accidents like that don't happen more often.  I told him that a group of cyclists can at times be so in tune with one another they move as one.  Inches apart from chaos, we're like a flock of birds who know where to move and when almost on instinct.  Osho says that some souls are brought into this world just to change the direction of another soul.  And though I may at times feel so small or inconsequential when compared to scales of time and space, the Universe is simply not the same without me.  Just like the peloton which continued down the road that day was not the same without me.  Their direction was changed.  

For some reason, these words are what someone needed to read.  Or maybe I just needed to write them.  Though tired now, I feel more healed somehow.  Everyone in our own personal realities is there for a reason.  And we are all at one time either helping somebody up or being picked up ourselves.  I thank every one of you who has reached out to express sympathy or concern.  I applaud all the players in my life and cheer you for each of your beautiful lessons.  For your assistance in bringing me back once again to wholeness.  And simply for reading and listening.

Relationship with Source Posted on December 30, 2012, 0 Comments

Seeing and feeling God as unconditionally loving and supportive is the way I experience life--a totally joyful experience.  I discard feelings of distrust, resentment, doubt, or anger toward God or Universal Intelligence, and my life works perfectly; I realize my ideal.

The Virtuous Cycle Posted on December 17, 2012, 2 Comments

 It begins with you.

And that goes for me, too.  Even when I hate to admit it or would rather avoid it, the only place I can ever really start is with me.  So I'm going to use this blog to write about some of the good I bring to the world.  Mostly just simple acts of consciousness:
 
--A door held open for the woman behind me. 
--Picking up a plastic bottle off the ground to recycle.
--Turning a shower off at the YMCA which someone left running.
 
See--they're all small things, right (what else would you expect from someone my size)?  Anyone can do it.  And there's nothing all that special about me, so I'm sure just about everyone does.  But I started this post so people could recognize the little things each of us does to make life a bit more beautiful.  Cause let's face it--beauty needs a boost right now.  It's up against disease.  It's competing with tragedy, poverty, and crime.  We are so often focused on what's wrong with the world, we rarely notice what's right.  Right doesn't make the headlines.  Good doesn't make for good storytelling.  Why can't we forget the name of a killer as easily as the names of his victims slip from our memory?  It makes no sense!  Why are we so obsessed with pain and suffering? 

I actually know part of the answer to that question.  It's a survival mechanism--stemming from somewhere deep inside the most primitive part of our brain--and it programs the human body to remember the most stressful events.  Say you're walking along a trail in the woods.  The sun is bouncing off the leaves above you as a breeze stirs them awake.  Their muffled chatter is the backdrop to a stream nearby, washing across rocks smooth and ripe for skipping.  Now take that same setting, but add an unfortunate stumble across a yellow jacket nest.  A swarm of stings later and which scenario do you think you'll remember more?  That's the reason we're here!  Lack this trait, and you weren't long for this world.  Forgetting some plant killed your next cave neighbor when he tried to eat it quickly took you out of the gene pool.  Trying to scratch a saber tooth tiger behind the ear probably didn't end too well--unless you were the tiger.

That's also the reason why I insist on form when working with a client.  If a person does the first several reps of a set perfectly but then cheats the last one or two, he cheats himself.  Pain is the most powerful programmer of the neuromuscular system.  And whether it's a crappy squat or a tiger that scares the crap out of us, the memory of that trauma stays with us so we don't make the same mistake again.  Our lives may literally depend on it. 

But there's a distinct difference between learning a lesson and owning that lesson.  People who take up dance spend hours practicing, learning multiple steps which they eventually put together.  Performed long enough and well enough, they might reach the state of automaticity.  They don't just know the dance.  They own it.  Like breathing, they can do it without even thinking about it.  And that's critical as it's often the conscious thought which trips us up.  Watch a basketball player at the free throw line or a kicker attempting a field goal.  As soon as he thinks too much about what he's doing, the chances of him missing increase.  Have you ever played a sport while trying to favor an injury?  And what happened?  When you play like you don't want to get hurt, you get hurt.

You get what you focus on.  The concentration of conflict in our news and in our papers is inundating us with fear.  And when scared the body releases a cascade of stress hormones which impact our physiology, creating a temporary euphoria.  We learn to become addicts to drama, even seeking it out from movies, shows, and books when real life can't provide us our fix.  When there isn't a crash on the highway for us to slow down and gawk at; when somebody at work isn't getting fired or when a church member isn't getting a divorce--it's almost like we don't know where to put our attention.  So we long for the next disaster.  We concentrate on what we don't want.  We energize the negative.  We stimulate fear to grow until we finally get exactly what we weren't looking for but what we were so intently focusing on. 

We don't know what to do.  And it's probably because we know what joy and happiness is--or at least we think we do--but we don't own it!  We have these crazy ideas of what happiness looks like.  Ideas perpetuated by the same sources which feed us our F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real).  So maybe it's time to rethink what happiness truly is.  It doesn't have to be so complex.  What if it were so simple that you didn't have to strive for it?  What if you didn't have to search outside yourself for joy?  What if you owned so much Love, people could feel it the moment they met you. 

Let's do THIS.

It's said that success is getting what you want while happiness is wanting what you get.  And you know what I want?  I want to open the door for someone so that person picks up a plastic bottle or turns off a running shower.  I want to allow Happiness to keep my attention.  I want to champion Kindness; to let Love lead.  I want to embrace Resolution without the need for conflict.

And I want you all to join me.

Everything we get can be exactly what we want.

Share this post with a friend.  Let them know they're invited to join a movement.  One that doesn't look the other way or deny fear but denies fear's power over us.  One that acknowledges all the ills which happen everyday in this world yet chooses to honor all the good instead.  Show people through small acts of beauty that we value one another and the connection between us.  What simple habits could we create to make this world a better place?  Let me see them.  Let others experience them.  Write in and let me know what you're doing so we can brainstorm together.  Let's start a positive feedback loop.  Let's grow a cause that keeps looping back on itself and expanding in both participation and impact until each successive cycle is greater than the one before it.  Watch what happens when good becomes mainstream.  When nice becomes the norm.  But realize that it begins with you...just like it begins with me.  And my first step was this post.  Now I plan to make it a daily blog where I write about the trivial acts of kindness I have practiced or the works of wonder I've heard about through you and others.  And when consciousness reaches a certain tipping point where everyone begins to rise in love, I'll happily take some of the blame.

I invite you to do the same.

Universal Intelligence's Perfection Posted on October 10, 2012, 0 Comments

I align all the frequencies of my consciousness with the perfectly operating principles of Intelligent Infinity, The All, God.

Intelligent Infinity is inherently perfect and expresses this perfection through Universal Laws which operate at all levels of phenomena, all dimensions of the created worlds.

As human beings we are created, and we function, according to Universal Law expressing itself perfectly in our lives.  Not only is each of us perfect, everyone else is also.  See/feel the perfection in all things, in all people, and in all situations.

When we see everyone else as perfect, we allow ourselves to experience our own perfection.  This leads us to function intuitively without conscious-mind distortion.  

Your own worst enemy Posted on September 17, 2012, 0 Comments

Is you.

Look in the mirror, deep into your own eyes and what do you see?  The mirror is full of you.  And to do that, it must be empty of itself.  Thus, what the mirror offers is a form of Unconditional Love.  It reflects, with no distortion, any and everything placed in front of it--what you see is what you get.

Or is it?  The truth is what you really see is a reflection.  It's not actually you.  If anything, it's the opposite of you.  The you in the mirror moves its left arm when you move your right arm.  In fact, what you see in the mirror is actually flipped upside down as it passes through the lens of the eye.  That information is then encoded in an electrical signal through a process called phototransduction before it's then flipped right side up again by the brain.

And something gets lost in translation.  You look at yourself and you see some fine lines.  Hell, let's call them what you're really thinking--wrinkles.  You see the extra 30lbs you've gained since high school.  You see every flaw, mistake, and "what if" in that reflection like you wrote it yourself.  So you do.  Then the adjectives of self destruction flow till you could write a thesaurus for masochists.  A few minutes turns into hours turns into days and maybe even years, and suddenly you are wearing your most dominant thought.

And it doesn't look good on you.  But after all this time, your idea of who you are has become deeply ingrained into your psyche.  Your ego has become attached to the label of fat or sick.  Even more, it holds onto a definition which promises to take away any responsibility you could ever take for yourself--VICTIM.  Yeah, you are powerless against the forces working against you.  Age.  Genetics.  Bad Timing.  Luck.  

Expression of will power are not tolerated and any attempt to take control of your own destiny is immediately but subtly undermined:  "You can take the elevator this once.  Another cookie won't kill you.  The show's not over...don't go to bed yet!"  The ego doesn't want to die, and it will say anything and employ anyone to convince you not to change.  Your parents taught you that you'd be rewarded with attention when sick or hurt.  Church indoctrinated you into meeting your needs before the needs of others was not the way to salvation.  This type of programming is exactly the kind of ally the ego will recruit to keep you from evolving.  Because evolution, even for the better, is death to the ego.  

And you need the ego.  Without the ego, you wouldn't have a sense of self.  You need the ego to help create the frictions in your life so that you can have the experience of living.  Unfortunately, the ego is most alive when it's in pain.  And when it's in pain, so are you.  The real you...and the you in the mirror.  So you end up being the ego's star player in this perpetual game of self-sabotage.  

I'm hoping you get tired soon.

 

Tired enough to stop playing.  Tired enough to listen to something other than fear.  Fear can only give birth to fear.  And when you're tired enough to quit participating in your own destruction, you can finally learn the truth about the ego, the truth of Love.  The ego is nothing--not even a reflection of the real you!  It's nothing but your set of ideas about your self.  Love is what's in the mirror.  Love what's in the mirror!  Love is the real you.  

And Love always Self corrects.

Perspective Posted on August 16, 2012, 0 Comments

 "What is a good man

But a bad man's teacher?

What is a bad man

But a good man's job?"

                    --Lao Tzu

Self Exploration Posted on July 26, 2012, 0 Comments

"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future."
--Deepak Chopra

Universal Principles Posted on July 21, 2012, 0 Comments

Below is my translation.
I encourage you all to write your own versions.

1. I'm attuned to the Perfection of the Universe of which I am an essential part of the Whole.

2. Everything is God--unconditionally loving and supportive of me/We/ALL.

3. The Universe is Perfect, and any perceived challenge is not a hurdle--rather it is a generous offering of Joy.

4. The Present is All there is, and I am Perfect there.

5. I am One with the Universe.

6. Effortlessly, I'm aligned with the Infinite Potential of the Universe.

7. I am the Creator of my Life, and every experience is a beautiful expression of what I want and need.

8. My Purpose is aligned with my Highest Self, and the whole Universe supports this union.

9. I am in love with my Life's Work, and the support of the Universe makes it an effortless Joy.

10. I give and receive the Endless Abundance of the Universe.

11. Everything in the Universe is supportive of me/We/ALL.

12. I trust the Universe's support of me at all times.

13. My body is the sounding board of my alignment with my Purpose and the Universe.

14. I am aligned with Universal Mind which supports my Highest Self.

15. I choose for myself--no one chooses for me.

16. I release all judgment of myself and others, freeing my mind to Universal Knowing.

17. Ideals of Perfection guide my feelings and thoughts and create the events in my Life.

18. I see no problems--only solutions.

19. I focus on the Present and allow the Infinite Intelligence of my intuition to let the Love of the Universe guide me.

20. I reside in the Present, free of all judgment and supported by the Love of the Universe.

21. My Intentions are grounded in Love, and my experiences reflect this.

22. I give freely of my Infinite Abundance, grateful that it always returns.

23. I honor the Wisdom of my Heart and welcome True Knowing through feeling.

24. Only Joy is Real, and I experience it daily by feeling Love for myself and others.

You can Posted on May 04, 2012, 0 Comments

What's the difference between a person that can complete a fire-walk and the person right next to them that gets burned?

Nothing - other than how they use their mind.

We are all given opportunities throughout life to see and experience the limitations we place on our minds. What should you take from those opportunities?

Never honor your fears more than your potential.
-- Paul Chek

Kiss and Tell Posted on April 12, 2012, 0 Comments

Boy, it's nice to be blogging again. It's been a long time. And in case it's possible some of you have forgotten or maybe haven't even met me, I should let you know something: I am perfect!

That probably goes without saying. I mean, come on--look at me: I'm 5'4". I have a gap between my teeth. I'm working on a nice bald spot if you look closely at the back of my head. I've got tan lines which make people ask where my farm's located. My sense of style is--as my wife will tactfully tell you--a bit lacking. And, yes, I have a distinct flare for the obvious. I'm telling you this, because...well...each one of you is a lot like me.

Yes, you're all probably taller than me, of course...that is, unless we've had any 10 year old girls subscribe to my blog recently. NO? O.k., so you're all taller. And most of you have absolutely beautiful teeth (Veneers). Some of you even have all of your hair (Weave!). And you've all apparently opted for one consistent skin color. Mine, by the way, is NOT a farmer's tan. It may look like it--yeah, I know--but it's actually a cyclist's tan. If you want to know what the difference is, take a look at my quads...

But still, y'all are a lot like me. Physiologically, we have almost the exact same DNA. And yeah, I know what you're thinking: the same could be said if I was talking to a bunch of chimpanzees, too, I guess. But my point is, the difference between you and me isn't as big as what you might think.

After all, our blood is all red. We share the same hormones, even. I have estrogen in my body exactly like every woman reading this. I just have a bit less. In fact, I have all the female hormones in my body, but women are just relatively more female than me. The truth is, everyone has both male and female characteristics, some of us just more than others. And I'm not braggin or nothin, but some of us have a heck of a lot more...if you know what I'm saying...

And we all make mistakes, too. I made one...once.

Seriously--I was 17yrs old and living it at home with my mom and older sister Heather who was home from college. One of Heather's boyfriends had given her this massive, 5lb Hershey's Kiss. This thing was HUGE! And I don't know how long she'd had it before I discovered it in her room, but it was more or less completely untouched. Just a few teeth tracks from where she'd scraped off a little bit here and a little bit there. Now, the remarkable thing about my sister and me--and this is my teenage brain talking here--is we have amazingly similar teeth. So, I thought to myself--she'll never notice a few additional tracks. And I guess you could say this was my first true calling to be a trainer as--well--I really didn't want her blowing her figure or anything, right?

A few scrapes and no big deal--she'd never notice. A few thousand scrapes, and that 5lb piece of chocolate had dropped half its body weight, and--oh my god--I was in trouble.

See, my sister is only 5 feet tall. But she had fingernails and wasn't afraid to use them. Some of the fights we had growing up were absolutely epic! I'm talking Godzilla vs. King Kong epic. And even though I was bigger than her, avoiding confrontation seemed to be my most prudent strategy if I wanted to keep all of my skin.

Think, Drew, Think...

Our DOG!

We had an English Bulldog named Lady Tierra--or "T" for short. Now Lady was no lady. That dog was MEAN! When my friends came over to the house, I told them "she loves it when you scratch her behind, but whatever you do: DON'T--I repeat--DON'T look her in the eye!" Funny: it's kinda the same thing I told them about my sister....Lady Tierra was second only to my sister as the biggest B-word in the house. I'd probably have given her that title based solely on the number of shoes of mine she'd gotten hold of and just torn to shreds. She did the same to books or balls or anything else in my room. The truth was, nothing was safe if it was within her reach...including a 5lb Hershey's Kiss...

Before you could say "poor dog", I finished off the last pound or two of chocolate. And just to be on the safe side, I put the box in my mouth for dessert. Then I GNASHED my teeth together and TORE up the box and RIPPED all the tinfoil and paper until it was spread all over my sister's room....

I was pretty proud. The crime scene was perfect! And if there was a small brave part of me who thought about confessing, it was quickly convinced to swear a cowardly vow of silence as Heather beat the crap outta that dog. I mean, she beat that dog so badly and was so mad I was scared! It was years before I told her the truth. Honest: We were sitting around the dinner table after Thanksgiving 7 or 8 years ago and reminiscing when Heather told this story about how T ate her entire Hershey's kiss. And I don't know if it was guilt or maybe I had just matured. More than likely it was the fact that Heather was clear on the other side of the table and I was next to the door. Whatever the reason, I finally came clean.

Kinda like I'm doing now.

And why am I doing this now? Simple: I want you to know who I am. All of these stories. All the secrets or lies. Everything I've ever done. Everything that's ever happened to me. All the shame. All the pain and doubt and sorrow. All the injuries, all the illnesses, and every single failure or embarrassing moment has been mixed with love and acceptance to give you who I am.

And I'm perfect.

And so are you.

Think about it! There has never been another person exactly like you in the history of the Universe, and there never will be. You are perfect. With all of your faults, all of your screw ups and gaps in your teeth, scars both physical and emotional, you are exactly what the Universe has intended. And the fact that you are here--at this precise moment in time--when the sun is just close enough to sustain life--any farther away and we'd freeze, any closer and we'd instantly incinerate--that fact is no coincidence. You are here for a reason. And if you don't believe me or you have no idea what that reason is--it's o.k--you're not alone. Most of us don't know. Many of us never will. Osho writes that some souls are brought into this life just to impact the direction of another soul. For most of us, time and distance is often what it takes to give us the perspective to see the truth in a given situation. When you're up against a wall, it's hard to see the door which is right beside you, right? Yet, here's the crazy thing: you may not even need that door.

Imagine we're sitting in a room together and I ask you the question: "what's really here?" These are walls, right? And what's on the other side of these walls? Another room. But if these walls weren't here, we'd just be in a bigger room, right? The air inside this building is the same air that's outside this building. If it weren't for these walls, wouldn't we just be meeting outside? Yet the reality is--these walls are nothing but a collection of atoms. And quantum physics tells us that atoms are nothing but 99.99999 percent empty space. These walls? They're not even really here.

And with that thought it mind, I have a question for you: What's the difference between you and me? What's the difference?

Love thine enemy as thy self.

Do unto others as you'd have done unto you.

We're all connected, people. Our skin and even the oceans which separate entire continents are no more real that those walls. It's all One. And what we do to or for someone, we do to and for ourselves. And more importantly perhaps: what we do to ourselves, we're doing to the world. Doesn't that idea make you think twice about how you treat yourself? Most of us are our own worst enemies. We need to stop looking in the mirror and seeing the scars, the flaws. We need to stop hating ourselves for the mistakes we've made. Stop thinking about all you have to do and think about what you GET to do! I don't even watch the news anymore, because most of it's just negative energy. War and crime and fear. I don't need to see that! I know it's out there. But I also know that you energize what you focus on. It's sort of like when you're riding a mountain bike through the woods and you see a tree near the trail. If you focus on the tree, you're gonna hit that tree. You need to look where you want to go--not where you don't want to go. Focus on what you want, not what you don't want.

Focus...on the positive.

And here's something positive: You are me. And as I told you with my flair for the obvious, I...am perfect.

Which means you are perfect, too.

Deception vs. Perception Posted on March 12, 2012, 0 Comments

You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It's too bad that you want to be someone else
You don't see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.

-Rumi