If given the opportunity, the Wilderness will always speak to us. The trick is to find a place where one’s soul, mind and heart, will be open enough to listen. With life’s worldly complications and corruptive influence, this can be a daunting task but with a little effort and positive thought, we can immerse ourselves within the wonders of the Wild.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” —Lao Tzu
I find that a peaceful jaunt through the tangled woods deep in the shadows of massive mountains, gives me the ability to dwell upon thoughts long lost in the chaos of civilization.
Its amazing how Nature can share such wisdom and guidance without saying a word.
“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every worthwhile Quest comes with hardship, disruption, and struggle. One could say, it’s the adversity of the afflictions triumphed that gives merit to the mission’s reward.
My fitness journey has not been without effort, but I have navigated my 6-month marathon training schedule with limited pain and discomfort. My mantra has been “Baby Steps Forward”. Recently I may have pushed the envelope beyond the physical limitations of my body which may have resulted in a significant injury. I have ceased all training till I can get a diagnosis of the ailment. Given the tremendous work that has been exerted thus far into achieving my goal of running a marathon, I am experiencing some frustration.
In my wallowing gloom, I began to ponder stories of accomplishment from an historical perspective which brought me back to the year 1775. Our American Revolution was inspired by an improbable dream that a rabble of thirteen disfranchised freedom yearning colonies could somehow defeat the British Empire and its unsinkable Navy and battle-hardened Army to achieve independence from a perceived tyrannical government. The odds were against the Colonist in almost every conceivable category. The struggle was long, brutal, and relentless. From 1775 through 1783, the beleaguered colonial forces suffered defeat after defeat. Along with these military setbacks, our Colonial Army was ravaged by disease, starvation, and exposure. As capable as he was, General George Washington lost more battles than he won but was always able to stitch the Army back together after every rout. His genius lay in sowing the seeds of fortitude within those he commanded from nothing but the fruitful belief in liberty. When others waivered, George Washington pushed an Army and the “Notion of Freedom” forward till finally independence was achieved.
History demonstrates time after time that those with the conviction to weather the storm find that the objective can still be achieved despite overwhelming odds. Commitment to cause, and relentless determination are as powerful as any weapon when fighting for a worthy goal.
I have found that when complexity and uncertainty occur within my life, that if I ponder the historical happenings of yesterday, that I can often find answers I am looking for within the details of stories already told. A roadblock has been placed along my path to run a marathon. It’s my job to simply navigate around that pitfall along a different route to reach my chosen destination. The new path may not be the route that I originally intended to tread but life rarely gives us what we want, we often must find a way to earn it. One can’t let adversity dictate a dream, if that were the case then every ambitious goal would die before it was just a thought. My Quest will need to be nourished with resolve, resilience, and grace; it’s just another challenge to overcome on my way to 26.2 Miles.
It’s now time to evaluate the injury, heal, learn from the issue and plan forward. Onwards and upwards.
“If you plan to build walls around me, know this—I will walk through them.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich
During World War I, an extraordinary event took place along the Western Front. On the Eve of Christmas, the melody of Silent Night began to emanate from the Germans trenches into the dark filled night. On the other side of no man’s land the English troops could feel the spirit of Christmas immerse into their surroundings, evoked by that peace-filled ballad. Hours later, on Christmas Day an unprecedented Truce swelled from the trenches. For the soldiers who experienced this miracle, it became a rare opportunity to find a short respite of peace while immersed within a thick fog of War. On that remarkable day, soldiers who were slaughtering each other just hours before, rose from the blood drenched trenches to share in fellowship and goodwill with their enemy on Christmas Day. By all accounts the Truce was a spontaneous miraculous event that took place throughout the front lines. Given the brutal warfare that took place in the trenches during World War I, it really does exemplify the extraordinary amount of love, that must have been felt by all combatants, to overcome the darkness of wars cruel grip to find the better side of humanity.
I remember being in Iraq on Christmas Eve, 2003, in the midst of the vast desert. As I looked out into the blackness of night, I remember witnessing the most brilliant stars shining down from the heavens. The light transcended throughout the bleak desert landscape and brought life into those eternal shifting sands. For a brief moment of time, I remember feeling tranquility and peace in that war torn land.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all my friends near and far. My wish for all of us is for our hearts to be open to the wonderment and joy that comes from the spirit of Christmas. If any of my friends are feeling low or down, feel free to reach out anytime, I’m just a message away.
Today I ran 13.4 miles and have reached halfway to my goal of running a Marathon. It was about 5 Months ago on 3July2021 that I began a new phase of my life. It was on that day, that I began a morning walk routine. I remember that I could take a stroll for about 20 minutes before I needed to stop and rest. Every day thereafter, I have endeavored to walk a little farther and just a bit quicker than the previous day. It has been a struggle to push myself forward at times, but I have gladly accepted the challenge and welcome the many benefits of finding the healthier me. Sometime after that first walk back in early July, I re-affirmed a commitment to fulfilling 3 Long Forgotten Life Goals that I have not yet accomplished.
· Run a Marathon · Travel to Alaska (get to very state) · Hike the Appalachian Trail
At 49 Years Old, I am starting my life a new and these goals have never been more feasible. Back in July, I was grotesquely out of shape, addicted to sugar, unhealthy foods and depressed, with no real healthy coping mechanism to help me navigate the burdens of life. During the last 5 months, I have focused my efforts towards achieving the bucket list items above. Chasing these goals has not been easy, but it has been a positive life changing metamorphoses which has in many ways brought me a sense of peace and tranquility. In all my years, I have never really been a goal oriented individual. I have done what I felt was right and worked hard to provide for my family but never held true to accomplishing a long-term goal such as this. My quest to run a marathon has shown me the benefits of working a plan slowly with tenacity to achieve the objective. The Mission has become a life of its own and has built a positive momentum which serves to push me further even when my own convictions faulter. I have found that there is a certain energy motivating me forward while pursuing this Quest to achieve the unattainable. It feels good to be hunting a dream once again!!
Merry Christmas to all my friends out there. The holidays can be hard on allot of individuals. If you are having a tough time remember you are not alone, keep fighting the good fight. Just a message away if I can help.
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” —Benjamin E. Mays
Many of us have a favorite number that brings us luck and good fortune. I don’t have a favorite number but have a ton of respect for the Number 12. Let’s just quickly point out a few interesting facts about that all impressive Digit 12. Feel free to add more in the comments:
· There were 12 Greek Gods that lived on top of Mount Olympus after they toppled those zany Titans
· Jesus had 12 Apostles
· A Bakers Dozen is quantified by the Number 12. o This all started when in Medieval England Bakers would provide an additional loaf of bread when persons would buy twelve loafs of bread to avoid a penalty for selling bread that was short of weight
· Twelve is the largest Number with a Single Syllable in the English Language
· There are Twelve full Lunations in a Solar Year, hence 12 Months in a Year
· The Twelve Days of Christmas count the interval between Christmas and Epiphany
· The Monkey god Hanuman has twelve names
· In English Common Law there are 12 Jurors
· There are twelve hours in a half day, 12:00 p.m. is midday or noon and 12:00 a.m. is Midnight
· There are twelve inches in a foot
· An NBA Quarter Lasts 12 Minutes
· A gross is twelve dozen
· Twelve men have walked on the Earth’s moon (If you believe we ever got to the moon)
Like the Number twelve, we all have an almighty strength within us. We have the ability to ignite this divine spark to rouse our own inner potential or we can let this power fizzle away into nothingness. Over the last few years, I have done the latter. I stifled this inner strength and lapsed into a state of regression to become a person, I really did not want to be. Over the last 5 months, I have propelled myself out of stagnation and have since strived to become a better person that I can respect. Running for me has become a vital part of this improvement process. This was not an easy transition and continues to be a challenge moving forward but what good things are built without effort and conviction?Life will always burden us with woe, despair, and troubles but its within our power to either surrender to these burdens or take the opportunity to rise above them. For any of my friends out there, if you find yourself in the low place, you are not alone. Keep the faith and know I have your back.
“If you are going through hell, keep going.” ― Winston S. Churchill
Just ran my first organized 5K for charity, it was a blast. I am not sure why I ended up wearing a gas mask, my old Army Uniform and Combat Boots from Iraq but that is how it went down. I heard there were a ton of people that dress up for these fun runs so I thought I would join in on the Thanksgiving race shenanigans. I refuse to give up an opportunity to be a goof ball moving forward in life, its just to much fun and makes me feel inherently alive! Have you ever noticed that the time you spend while doing something you love just flies by quicker then normal? It brings up a good point. As one reaches their declining years in life, we have less time left on this earth to enjoy it. Think about it; when you were young, a week would last forever. The older you get, the same week feels like it lasts a shorter period of time. Its a simple point of reference but in reality it is your subconscious telling you that “TIME” is not an everlasting commodity and you should use what time you have left in life wisely. Hopefully I will continue to laugh and smile, till I am old and wrinkly but in the mean time I shall cherish these positive moments and strive to never forget them. Keep these positive memories in a safe place because even though these recollections may be just a glimmer of light in our lives, they will always have the power to brighten any dark place.
Just ran 9.5 miles, it was perfect. I am Feeling good and that is a miracle in its self. I truly believe that sublime inspired miracles occur every day and all one has to do is open their eyes to witness them. I think its also incumbent on all of us to foster the growth of our own miracles for ourselves and more importantly for others. We must be the bringer of good in all that we do and if we live committed to this conviction then no matter what the world throws at us, we will endure the best we can with our chins held high and our hearts filled with love and charity. Never stop the good fight!!!
We all must battle our own demons and struggles throughout our lives; this is a harsh inevitable truth. Many of these troubles are caused by our own hand, some may be health related concerns, financial hardships arise, and calamities may be derived from the unscrupulous actions of others as well. When these inevitable life pitfalls manifest into reality, they create an ability for the harsh truth to alter our world dynamic which can dramatically affect our emotional health. During these times of difficulty, we can choose the downward decisions of moral decline and negativity or look to become better versions of ourselves by choosing to fight through the struggle with integrity, forbearance and optimism while endeavoring to lift others along the way. The choice is ours alone to make.
When pondering upon the many hardships we endure throughout our existence, it’s important to remember our lives are not meant to be easy. It’s crucial to understand that our never-ending struggle is a constant reality. I do not mention this to instill a mindset of depression and melancholy. It is just an historical truth that since the creation of earth, life for all creatures has been immersed in a brutal evolutionary growth cycle that is not meant to be fair or kind, it’s meant to Improve, Progress and Evolve. Life is about the great lesson, the ultimate finishing school where we are forced to grow beyond our own capabilities and this type of growth is not possible without hardship. When these great burdens arise, we can use our limited energy and strength to travel down one of two separate mindsets; we can navigate these burdens through a Positive Thought Perspective or through a Negative Word View.
Negativity fosters hate, envy, guilt, anger, and bitterness. These emotions cause a caustic degradation of the mind, body and soul and impede growth opportunities that we are meant to learn from through our own personal struggles. We have all met that individual, burdened by the fatness of their own bitterness. These sad peoples are blinded by their own guilt, rage and hate and could not see the truth if they were swimming within it. This mindset limits learning and stifles growth and development.
When we choose to battle our misfortunes through a Positive Mindset, we become less defensive and more willing to learn from the experiences. Our optimistic perspective allows us to focus on a viable solutions and we tend to dwell less upon the rage of the moment and more upon bettering our own reality. Positive thoughts and perspectives allow our minds to look for creative work arounds to the pitfalls that befall us. One can’t problem solve and learn when they are stuck in a cycle of anger and rage. The only thing to do is to let that negativity escape from within us.
Always remember that we have the opportunity to find immeasurable strength, conviction, and growth through our own dilemmas. These same ugly trials can become the beginning of an ever-fulfilling healing cycle that will result in a constructive transformation for you and those around you. On the other hand, Negativity leads to bitterness which is a burden that will only serve to suffocate the better versions of yourself.
“It is worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty” – Dalai Lama
How do we survive the burdens of life that descend upon us from the tombs of miseries discontent? We all have navigated the perilous sojourn of loss and sorrow, it’s a maze of shattered aspirations and distorted dreams. There is no miraculous solution to get through the melancholy of the moment but there is always a route to be found, out from the depths of darkness if one chooses to open their eyes to see it. My tragedy occurred only a few months back when my world was pilfered from me in a split second of time, changing my world view as I knew it. The moment almost broke me. It’s during these havoc filled trials, that we must look ever upwards and find Inner Grit that resides within all of us in places long lost within our first world landscape. Of course, we must grieve and provide ourselves a time to heal but there will be a moment to seize the initiative and take the fight directly to the dismal chaos that festers within. We are not meant to stand idle as our world dissolves around us. We can choose Flight, or we can choose Fight, I chose the latter.
My battle began in the depths of my own consciousness as I began to better understand my own new reality but through the struggle, I realized that my mental wellness was strengthened by physical well-being. So, the battle was waged along two fronts, as I fought to strengthen both my mind and body in an epic quest to become a better version of myself. It’s during these moments of disillusioned misfortune, that we can find that our potential to succeed is only dampened by our willingness to concede. I remembered the words of Winston Churchill who courageously rallied a nation when he said, “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
Today I find myself immersed within a beautiful fall day in October where I can honestly say that my tragedy is now defined by a 6.13 Mile Run through Central Park in New York City. Yes, there are tough times ahead, but that ugly truth can’t hide my unwavering hope for a better tomorrow. Keep the faith and plow forward with conviction and most importantly, smile along the way.
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” – Dalai Lama