Smoke and Ultra Running

Friday 8th, September 2017, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Life is good and I cannot complain too much!!   EB

You can’t control everything.  Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out.  Let go and let life happen.

“Anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.”  Khalil Gibran

Well the three weeks of training in Breckenridge was fantastic. Great mountain weather with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm but nothing that would be consider “Noah’s Flood” material.  The temps were in the 70s for daytime highs and the low 40s at night.  Not too bad.   To top it all off, even after three weeks of running different routes I felt like I had only covered a small percentage of it.  This will definitely become a “to do” each summer.  All of this was to get ready for the Run Rabbit Run in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

 

Now that I am up at Steamboat, and ready to run,   I am finding that there are things that I have no control over.   Those “things” are the Forest Fires out in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho and of course Colorado.  There are two fires close to Steamboat and the air quality for the last couple of days has been questionable.  This, to say the least, is creating some anxiety in me.

This picture is from Wednesday looking toward the Ski Area and Mount Werner.  The picture below is from Thursday evening in downtown Steamboat.  Now this does not look as bad as the pictures from Montana but thinking that I am going to run in and out of the smoke for about 30 hours.  Well I am guessing that this is not the best thing for my health in the long term.   So….you would think that this would be a “No Brainer” – don’t run.  But when you have put in miles and miles of training, spent money on travel arrangements, rearranged work schedules, etc…. Things become a little more complicated.   What to do…what to do??   I decided to NOT run.  And I rationalized it this way.  We live in a very toxic world that our ancestors did not have to contend with.   Those that chose to run in the smoke will take a significant “hit” to their respiratory/cardiovascular systems and they are going to go back to cities, towns, homes and even jobs, that are much more “toxic” than what their ancestors had to contend with. I do believe that stress like this can be accumulative and in the long run disease causing in the human body.  So I asked myself why risk it?  And the answer was don’t…  I want to be able to run something like this when I am in my 80s  and potentially when I am 90.  There will be other Ultras out there and I want to stay healthy enough to run them.

 

 

Friday 11th, August 2017

Breckenridge, Colorado

“Life is good and I really cannot complain too much…No one would listen!!”

Well I thought it was about time to start my Blog Post again. I think the last one was back in December 2016…Way too long to let it go. I am in Breckenridge Colorado – living in the RV for a few weeks while I get in a couple of days of trail running in preparation for the Run Rabbit Run 100. I have never done the 100 mile distance but I am hoping that the high altitude training and trail running that I do in the next couple of weeks will put me in good shape to finish this distance.

Met a guy on the trail the other day that has done this distance multi times. His advice was to take it really slow to start – to truly “run my race – besides at your age who are you racing against?” Kind of funny but this really hits home. I known this was the truth but the way Rick said it really took it to another level for me. I realize that I needed to go out as if I am going for a long walk/run and I am only interested, really only interested, in how far I can go. To walk/run at a pace that is enjoyable…to keep the breathing and heart rate down. To be mindful, really mindful of how much huffing and puffing I am doing climbing the mountain.

Rick reminded me that the 100 mile distance is a “long way and the real race so to speak does not start until after the first 50 miles.”  After doing the 50 mile distance 5 times now in races…I think that is really good advice.  Well that is probably about it for now. Hope you enjoy the trail porn and maybe I will see you out there on the trail!!

THE LIST 2.0

DECEMBER 21ST, WEDNESDAY 2016

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Plato or Socrates?

“We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own. We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance. We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in. We should write, above all, because we are writers, whether we call ourselves that or not.”

Julia Cameron, The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life

Well I have been writing now consistently for 5 years. And that is to me a long time. This “writing” so to speak, every day, day in and day out, has been what Julia Cameron would call “Morning Pages” or “Stream of Consciousness.” I have probably not missed more than 20 to 30 days of writing in this 5 year period – or to put it another way that is about 1800 days of pen to paper so to speak. That just seems amazing to me. In this process I have come up with a lot of insights into my life and why I do certain things or react in certain ways. Just when I think that I have gotten to the bottom of an issue I find that there are more layers upon layers upon layers. My journal is one that I know will never be read by anyone but me. I find that I have to keep this in mind so that I don’t hold back. Nothing is sacred in the journal. All topics are explored – good and bad. You have to go all out so to speak if you want to get through the rock hard layers of the psyche.

One of the things that started to evolve over time with this exploration were small quotes, sayings, and ideas by different authors. These concepts had a tendency to come up again and again and again. Sometimes showing back up as insights when least expected. Over time they coalesced into what I like to call the LIST.

I wrote previously wrote about the list on this Blog site – about a year and a half ago. (May 22nd, 2015). As the exploration has continued since that time the list has changed and evolved, and will continue to do so. But as Plato or Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

THE LIST

**START EACH DAY BY TREATING AND THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF WITH THE UTMOST LOVING KINDNESS. AS IF YOU WERE A VERY TREASURED AND LOVED FRIEND THAT HAS BEEN GONE FOR A LONG, LONG TIME BUT HAS UNEXPECTEDLY JUST RETURNED** Stop fighting yourself,
there will be plenty of people in the world that will do that for you and to you.

1. YOU HAVE ALL THAT YOU NEED. Truly we have all that we need. It is when I cannot separate the “need” from what I “want” that gets me into trouble. Over time I noticed three questions that came up over and over again and again. Two of these (with the help of others) I developed on my own and the third one is from Henry David Thoreau. I am still not independently wealthy and more importantly we are all limited by time no matter how rich we are. I wish that I would have been able to voice these questions thirty years ago but as the old saying goes, better late than never.

    Question 1: “What do I care about so much that I would pay to do it?”

    Question 2: “What am I willing to give up so that I can live by working a lot less?”

    Question 3: “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” Henry David Thoreau

I try to remind myself each morning these three questions. Before you make that purchase, take that job assignment, commitment to that engagement, etc.…. Ask yourself these three questions.


2. WHAT WOULD YOU ATTEMPT IF “FAILURE” WAS A GOOD FRIEND? If you knew that you could not fail what would you attempt? When you start to think about this the possibilities really become endless. If you make failure your friend and realize that the more you fail the closer you will move towards success. As much as I really don’t like the next President Elect – Mr. Trump, I have to give him credit for his failures. In business and in life. He seems to have been able to learn from his mistakes and move forward. We could all take a lesson from that. As far as his politics are concerned – well that is a different story. The idea here is truly to not be afraid to fail, invite failure in, serve it tea and cookies, and see it all as a learning opportunity. No telling how far you will go…


3.
THE THINGS THAT WE FEAR THE MOST ARE THE THINGS THAT WE MOST NEED TO DO. Not sure who coined this quote first? But really it is a universal truth. How many times do we not do something that we know would lead to our growth? Fear and Failure seem to tie in together, we fear failure and because of this we don’t do the things that we know in our hearts we need to do. We want to turn away from the fear, but in reality we need to turn into it. As Pema Chodron says “We need to lean on the sharp points of life.” Or the quote by Susan Jeffers: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Anytime you become fearful, take a moment, and realize that this is a learning opportunity. A moment for growth to occur.


4. YOU MUST RENEW THE CLIMB OF THE MOUNTAIN EACH AND EVERY DAY! I think that I first heard this quote from a TV show called the “Life Styles of the Rich and Famous.” Some South American billionaire was being interviewed by one of the show’s host/producers, Robin Leach, and was asked why he was so successful and the answer was this idea: That you must go out and climb the mountain each and every day. It does not matter what you did last week, or yesterday, or even tomorrow, but right now. You must go and climb the mountain again and again and again. You might not get to the top today but that is OK. Some days are going to be harder than others. The trick is to just start. You never know how far you will get until you try.


5. LET GO AND WALK ON!! This is from Alan Watts. Sometimes I think that you just have to let go and walk on. It is the idea that life is in a constant state of change, there is nothing that is permanent, everything changes. It helps to remind me to be in the moment. Not to hold on to things too tightly. When we grip life by the horns so to speak we can miss the life that is flowing by us each and every day. All of life is in a state of change. And because of fear we feel that we need some kind of control. That false feeling of control is created by anything that we hold on to. And this “Holding On” means anything: material possessions, cherished beliefs, old friends and acquaintances, certain attitudes, religions, rituals, fears, truths, jobs, who we think we are, etc.… All of this gives us the false feeling of control. The reality is – there is no control. We think we have control but in reality we have no control at all. This can create a lot of fear. The trick is to just open your hand and let go – let the fear go – and walk on. Free up that energy. Let the anxiety go. You don’t need to be on the defensive all the time. The elaborate forms of defense and control that we create by “holding on” do not work.

“Life is an act of faith, an adventure into the unknown.” – Alan Watts


6. LINGER IN THE MOMENT. This one comes from Pema Chodron. It is a way to help remind myself to stay in the moment. Just to linger – good and bad moments. There are times we are so tempted to “rush” through life. But all of life happens in the present moment. The past is past, the future has not happened yet. All of life is right now, right here, right in this very moment while you are reading these words.


7. EMBRACE LIFE. Just embrace life – there are times life is not fair, terrible things happen, good people and loved ones die. And most of the time there is nothing you can do about it. But it is still life, the only choice to make is whether you embrace it or reject it. I like to think that I have made the conscious effort to embrace it. To make a positive difference where ever I can. A quote that I came up with:

“Life is good, bad, beautiful and ugly – but it is all experience, so drink it up, and guzzle it down my friend, for it is all that we are given.” EdB


8. SLIP OFF THE CLOAK AND SHACKLES OF SHAME. LET VULNERABILITY REIN!! Ah – SHAME – the hidden emotion. Thank you again Brene Brown for her research into “Shame”. I like to think of shame as the hidden emotion. I think we wear shame like we wear anger – it is a cloak and it becomes so much a part of us, we have been wearing it for so long, we forget that we have it on until someone or a situation points it out. If you had asked me a few years ago if I had experienced “shame” or if it had ever influenced a decision I made, I would have thought you crazy. But after listening to and reading Brene’s book, “Daring Greatly,” I realize that this emotion has played a large role at times. A quote from her sums it up:

“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.”


9. YOU ARE OK JUST AS YOU ARE – YOU ARE ENOUGH!! This also come from Brene Brown and a few others. It is again the fear that you are just not good enough. Society has the tendency to give you what I call the “Never” quips: You are never good enough, never smart enough, never big enough, never beautiful enough, never rich enough, never skinny enough, never fast enough, etc.…. But the reality is that “YOU ARE ENOUGH, YOU ARE OK JUST AS YOU ARE.


10. ALL OF LIFE IS DISTRACTION. When you finally realize it, life is nothing more than one distraction after another distraction. Some are very good and some are self-destructive and therefore bad. The question comes down to a choice: How do we want to be distracted and the realization that not all distractions are bad and not all are good – society works for the group as a whole but not always for the individual. A question to ask yourself with any distraction, good or bad, “What am I turning away from?” Or another way to put it – “What am I running away from?” And this will usually lead to more questions and further examination of your life, which leads to possible changes, and further examination, etc.….

Also some will see “distractions” as getting away from the “purpose or meaning of life” but that question in and of itself is a waste of time. As the great Joseph Campbell said:

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

11. WE DO NOT SEE LIFE AS IT REALLY IS, WE SEE LIFE AS WE ARE. This famous quote comes from Anais Nin. She was a remarkable woman who was an author and is famous for keeping a journal for 40 years. When you stop to think about it we really do see the world as we are. I know that when I am feeling really good both mentally and physically I have a tendency to be much more forgiving of others peccadillos. But if I am feeling bad or had a recent bad experience at work, home, etc.… then I might not treat or think of others as gently/forgiving as I normally would. I think that Anais wanted us to see the world as it actually is – to get past our immediate biases. We all get caught up in our day to day issues – the trick is to see how this influences how we see.

12. DON’T USE ANGER AS A SHIELD. DON’T HIDE BEHIND IT – STEP OUT IN FRONT OF IT. This comes from many different authors but several that stand out for me are Jon Kabat-Zinn, Brene Brown and Thich Nhat Nanh. I have come to see anger as a reaction to fear. To protect ourselves from the “fear” we create a shield so to speak. This metaphorical shield is made out of anger. The idea here is to step past the shield of anger. To get out in front of it. This requires us to see our own fears honestly, understand them and take responsibility for them. By taking responsibility, means not letting fear completely dictate our vision and view. This responsibility does not let us run away – it requires mindfulness and turning into the proverbial sharp points of life. For me, I wore anger like a cloak for a very long time. Anytime something came up that I feared I pulled on my cloak of anger. I got so use to wearing the cloak I forgot that I had it on. It adversely affected all of my life. The best TV example of this is from an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation – called The Wounded. Captain Picard makes a statement about another Starfleet Captain that blew up a perceived enemy ship without provocation. The other Captain had a grudge from the death of his wife and child at the hands of this former enemy.

“When one has been angry for a very long time, one gets used to it. And it becomes comfortable, like….like old leather. And finally….becomes so familiar that one can’t ever remember feeling any other way.” – Cap. Picard

This truly was me about 3 years ago. It does not matter what the catalyst was for the initial start of the anger. What does matter is that you own it, understand it, and become mindful of it, otherwise the anger will sour everything you do in life.

13. THIS IS GOOD ENOUGH, OR JUST “GOOD ENOUGH.” This quote comes from Ajahn Brahm. He gives the analogy of how we get into the “perfection” of things and need to step back in order to see the big picture. He talks about building a long brick wall at the monastery and he was upset because a couple of bricks were a little out of alinement. He says this was causing him a great deal of stress until a couple visiting the monastery started talking about the magnificence of the brick wall, how beautiful it was, they never saw the few bricks that were out of alinement. He says that this is a reminder that sometimes things are “GOOD ENOUGH” as they are – we don’t need to worry ourselves needlessly over the “perfection” idea.

14. THERE WILL BE A “LAST TIME” FOR EVERYTHING – ALL THINGS END!! This one just reminds me that no matter what is going on good or bad. All things end – just that simple. This is another way of saying that all things change. It helps me to be grateful for the time I have. That nothing is written in stone. It might all end tomorrow or tonight or the very next moment. Just this one statement can help to slow you down. To truly savor the moment. Even the dull ones. It can bring joy to the most menial tasks.

“When you finally realize that nothing is permanent in this life, you will become more tolerant, more forgiving and less judgmental.” Mufti Ismail Menk

Well this is the second time that I have written out this LIST and posted it to my Blog site. It has been about a year and a half since the last one. Will it change again? I sure do hope so. Life is not static, it is movement and flow. A continuing learning opportunity. Again my hope is that you have found something helpful, useful or interesting for further exploration and inspiration.

Winter has finally set in for Colorado and the snow is falling in the mountains. Time to go and do a little bit of skiing. I hope you enjoy the drawings. I did them over the last year. They are on 5.5 x 8.5 inch paper, 90 lb. weight, with Staedtler, Copic and Sharpie Markers. I call them doodles, each one different in its own way but with the recurring theme of circles. The last one was done from inspiration after watching the Game of Thornes – it is of a Crow but I knew if I did it all in black the details would be hard to bring out. So I decided to add some color – so think of it as a metaphorical crow. The emotions of color beneath the black. Take care and see you OUT THERE!!


HILLBILLY ELEGY – A memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance

December 10th, Saturday 2016

“If you believe that hard work pays off, then you work hard; if you think it’s hard to get ahead even when you try, then why try at all? Similarly, when people do fail, this mind-set allows them to look outward. I once ran into an old acquaintance at a Middletown bar who told me that he had recently quit his job because he was sick of waking up early. I later saw him complaining on Facebook about the “Obama economy” and how it had affected his life. I don’t doubt that the Obama economy has affected many, but this man is assuredly not among them. His status in life is directly attributable to the choices he’s made, and his life will improve only through better decisions. But for him to make better choices, he needs to live in an environment that forces him to ask tough questions about himself. There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day.”
J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

“What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations that they had for their own lives. Yet the message of the right is increasingly: It’s not your fault that you’re a loser; it’s the government’s fault.”

J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

“There is no group of Americans more pessimistic than working-class whites. Well over half of blacks, Latinos, and college-educated whites expect that their children will fare better economically than they have. Among working-class whites, only 44 percent share that expectation.”
J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

“Barack Obama strikes at the heart of our deepest insecurities. He is a good father while many of us aren’t. He wears suits to his job while we wear overalls, if we’re lucky enough to have a job at all. His wife tells us that we shouldn’t be feeding our children certain foods, and we hate her for it—not because we think she’s wrong but because we know she’s right.”

J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis


Excellent book – Vance writes about the problems of the white lower economic class of America. He comes off very direct and honest in telling his tale of growing up in Kentucky and Ohio. I think it is one thing to research an area or class in the United States but quite another to actually have lived it as a kid. The book helped me to get a better understanding of the problems facing lower social economic status whites. Joblessness, divorce, substance abuse, poverty, etc.… these issues are a fact of everyday life for the characters in the book. Working where I do I have some understanding of these issues but at the same time I did not appreciate some of the finer details. And how these issues change people’s beliefs and attitudes. This book is a must read for those who want to better understand the issues that surround this group in America. It is available at Amazon for about 12.25 in paperback.

https://www.amazon.com/Hillbilly-Elegy-Memoir-Family-Culture/dp/0062300547/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481359111&sr=8-1&keywords=hillbilly+elegy

The picture below is from skiing at A-Basin last Monday 12/5 – the snow is finally starting to fall!!



“When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times” by Pema Chodron

December 1st, Thursday, 2016

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know

…nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times


I have made the habit of trying to read 50 books each year – in all categories. And when I say all categories – I really mean all categories. This has been going on for about 15 years. I have never made it to 50 but have gotten in the high 40s a few years. I am now close to 500 books and hope to cross that barrier next year. It is a lot harder than what it might seem with all the distractions in our modern lives. To get the full scope or to really understand a story and the author’s point of view, you sometimes have to come back and read it more than once. Plain and simple: It is time consuming, it can dominate a huge part of your day… but I believe well worth the effort.

This book was first published in 2000 and it is as relevant today as it was back then. It is a short one, only about 150 pages but packed full of information. To summarize the book or to give what I think as the underlying theme: that when things get confusing, difficult, ugly, messy, really terrible… they fall apart… the idea is not to run away but to turn into it, to lean on the sharp points so to speak. And the realization that most of what we do in our daily richtuals is nothing more than distraction, an escape from the grim and not so grim realities of modern life.

As example, while reading this I was reminded of what the former president, George Bush Jr. told the American public after 911 – “To go shopping” – which on the surface sounds crazy but this was nothing more than a way to escape for a few moments from the harsh reality of 911. An escape from the fear, the confusion and the worry that was generated by this terrible event. Pema shows us that we don’t need to do this, that there is a better path. She also shows that it does not take a watershed event to create this need for escape. Everyday life does this all the time. You really do not have to go looking for it. I think it is in this realization, that this occurs everyday, day in and day out, Pema makes one of the most important points of the book. When we become aware and use the everyday events to practice not running away then we are better prepaired for the bigger life chaning events that we all will face at sometime.

This is one of those books that can be read and reread. Each time you will come to a new understanding of how we “gloss over” our lives, both the good times and especially the bad, not really being in the moment, and always seeking escape. And therefore never having really lived life. I would have to say that this is one of the best books that I have read all year.

If you are a prime member you can get the paper back version of the book for about 10$ on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com

The picture below is from my nephew out in Washington – it is his first day of downhill skiing this year at Steven’s Pass. Looks like it might be a great snow year in the Pacific Northwest.



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

November 23rd, Wednesday, 2016

“Life is good, bad, beautiful and ugly – but it is all experience, so drink it up and guzzle it down my friends, for it is all that we are given!” EB

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” Joseph Campbell

Well – I would like to wish everyone in the world Happy Thanksgiving. This has been a really interesting year to say the least. Crazy at the worst. Whoever coined the term “reality is stranger than fiction” really hit it on the head. Britain leaves the EU and we elect DT as our next president. Who would have thought? Well that is life. And I am thankful for all of it – if things always went our way…well it would get pretty boring. Take social media for instance, i.e. Facebook. In the last couple of months there have been some pretty strong opinions expressed. At one point, I felt that it might be better to get off Facebook all together. But as I looked at all these different opinions I realized that this is important. We are creatures of comfort and habit. It takes a concerted effort to get ourselves in a state of discomfort and to break old habits. Growth only occurs when things fail or don’t go our way. So in this vein of thought, I try to remind myself each day that I need to surround myself with people, both physically and virtually who don’t have the same view that I do. And this is where Facebook becomes an incredible tool – you now have the ability to access the opinions and knowledge of thousands of other individuals, sometimes millions. And what do you find? That not everyone has your same view!! This is a good thing. This puts us in a state of discomfort. And from this discomfort growth will occur and old habits might get broken. So enjoy the banter on Facebook and if it makes you a little uncomfortable – well so much the better!

The picture below is from my daughter in Steamboat Springs this week. Beautiful.

Monday 15th, February 2016


A beautiful Colorado sunset from my place of work – Feb 3rd, 2016

PERSPECTIVE AND FEAR

It is all perspective. No matter what happens to you good or bad – it is all a matter of perspective. I have truly come to believe that. As much as I would like to be able to “control” what happens to me – it is not possible. Let me say that again – You cannot control what happens to you. Sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time or the right place at the right time. Once I accepted this reality – life got better.

Something that really helped me with this this idea of “Perspective” was a quote from Joan Tollifson:

“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor or employee, every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the Guru.”

No matter what happens to me, if I am truly in the moment and see it as an opportunity to learn, there is a lessening of what I call the “FEAR.” The fear of saying the wrong thing, the fear of making a mistake, the fear of looking foolish or stupid, the fear of showing vulnerability, the fear of sickness, injury and even death, etc.… Every moment of your existence while awake is an opportunity to see past the “FEAR.” One of the best movie quotes that relates to this idea of “FEAR” is from the movie “After Earth.” It is when the character (Cypher Raige) played by Will Smith is talking his son about fear.

Cypher is telling is son to be in the moment. Not to be thinking about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future but to be in the moment. The danger to his son is very real but creating and amplifying the fear is a choice or a perspective. And that perspective is something that is made up and formed in our minds. Being in the moment, seeing it as a learning opportunity, and it can all be a learning opportunity, lessens that fear.

Ok, ok, ok enough of this already. One last quote about this and I will go. This one is from the Book Dune by Frank Herbert – spoken by the character Paul Atreides:

“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that bring total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

You can lessen the fear but you never totally get rid of it. It is a part of you – it is why as a species we are here or our ancestors would have been eaten on the Plains of Africa millions of years ago. It kept us out of trouble. So to take it one more step, you invite the “FEAR” in – facing the fear. As if you are serving it coffee or tea. Find out what it wants, what it is about, learn all you can from it, and be kind to it. Learning about the fear is really learning about yourself and in doing so you minimize it.

That is all that I have for this week – see ya at the next post. Be safe and have fun living life to the fullest!!

FRIDAY 5TH, JUNE 2015

 

“LIFE HAS NO MEANING. EACH OF US HAS MEANING AND WE BRING IT TO LIFE. IT IS A WASTE TO BE ASKING THE QUESTION WHEN YOU ARE THE ANSWER” – Joseph Campbell

 

“I DON’T BELIEVE PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE AS MUCH AS THEY ARE LOOKING FOR THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING ALIVE” – Joseph Campbell

 

“PARTICIPATE JOYFULLY IN THE SORROWS OF THE WORLD. WE CANNOT CURE THE WORLD OF SORROWS, BUT WE CAN CHOOSE TO LIVE IN JOY” – Joseph Campbell

 


I have waited to the end of the week to get busy on this and I was really not sure what to put down. I was drawing a blank and having trouble getting motivated when I saw this quote while reading Friday afternoon and decided to look it up. It seemed familiar and sure enough it was by a favorite author of mine – Joseph Campbell. In the process of rereading some of his quotes I found a few more that I like. I guess I can start here to see where this might go? I am familiar with JC’s books called “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and the “Hero’s Journey.” Excellent reading by the way if you want to explore some deep thought provoking concepts. So when I saw the first quote about life not having any meaning my curiosity was stirred. What was Joseph Campbell talking about? What did he mean “Life has no meaning.” That is a good question. I guess it means that life just is. But as humans we want to add control and meaning by a higher power. We want to think that there is some grand plan to it all. To explain the bad things. The fantastic and fortuitous things. The terrible things. But in reality there is no control, there is no meaning outside of us. We bring the meaning to life. As individuals and in mass, we create it. We give it meaning, we create the control. Because outside of that there is nothing.

Thinking about this strikes a chord with me. I am sure that there are people in the world that have their lives turn out just like they had planned. But I am not one of those. If I could go back in time and know what I know now. Wow, there would be so many things that I would change or do differently. But that is not how it works. When I was a lot younger I thought that there was a grand plan for me and I just needed to discover it, work harder, do better? But what I have come to realize is that there is no grand plan. It was just made up as I went along and continues to be. Choose this path and not that one, turn right and not left, work at this job, not that one, etc.… I so wanted to believe that there was some higher authority that in all the cosmos, had my best interest in mind. That what happened to me or did not happen to me was all part of a game plan. Wow, writing this down I cannot believe how naïve I was. To think this. Could it have been a fear of taking control and responsibility for my own life? Could it all relate back to fear, fear of failure, fear of death, fear of making the wrong decisions in life? Just fear? Maybe none of this matters? Is it all random out there in the cosmos? This thing that we call “life” has no meaning – we bring the meaning, we bring the control, we bring the experience.

The pictures this week are from Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park. The rain had let up a little bit and it was a great day to get out on the trails. The top two pictures show the wide valley area between Lory and Horsetooth. As you can tell the sun was out at this time and everything was verdant green. Just beautiful. The top picture was looking south towards Horsetooth and the middle picture was looking north towards Lory. The bottom picture is from the top of Towers Road in Horsetooth. I think I have posted a similar picture before. But I am always awed when I get to the top to look west and see Meeker and Longs Peak. As you can tell there is still a lot of snow for the first week of June. Well I think that is going to be it for me this week. Take care and hope to see you out on the trails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY 22ND, MAY 2015

 

I have been writing a personal journal consistently for almost 4 years now. And what I mean by consistently is “every day.” If I miss a day I do not feel right. Some days it is only a half of a page, on other days it is more than three pages. I used to think that I would run out of stuff to write about, but that has not been the case. If anything the list of things to write about has gotten longer. My journal is one that I know will never be read except by me so all topics are fair game. Nothing is held sacred. Nothing is held back. It is a writing that is mainly exploration of the “self.” Good things as well as the bad things. I have learned more about myself in the last four years than I ever knew was possible. Somethings were really difficult to write about. And other topics that I thought I had covered in great detail still had more layers to them. I do not see a day that I ever stop journaling. Socrates was right: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Over time one of the things that has evolved out of the journaling is a list that I review every day and I mean every day. They are just small saying and quotes but they help me to live life as best I can. As the exploration continues so will the personal and spiritual growth therefore the list is not written in stone. It will change and that’s as it should be. I would like to share this list with you. My hope is that you will find something helpful in your life as I did.

THE LIST

 

1. You have all that you need. When you get right down to it most of us have all that we need. Really we have all that we need. Especially in the USA. I remind myself of this while watching TV and I get that feeling of “wanting” something new. The question becomes is this a need or is it a want? And what do I feel comfortable giving up for a want. I am not finically independent and for me it means how much time do I want to spend at work in order to afford the “new want.” Just thinking about spending more time at work usually kills it right there.

 

2. What would you attempt if you knew that you could not fail? This is a good one. What would we attempt if you really knew that you could not fail? The possibilities are endless when you starting thinking about it. Or I like this one even better. If we knew “failure” was Ok what worthwhile goal would you set for yourself? This is the trick to this one. The idea that failure is not usually final. Matter a fact it is part of the process and without it we would not have much success at all.

 

3. The things that we fear the most are the things that we most need to do. I like this. How many times do we not try something because we fear it? Obviously you may fear jumping off a cliff, but that does not mean you need to jump off the cliff. It just means you need to think it through a little more. Maybe with the right equipment like a parachute. Or ropes so that you can repel down, etc… Just think of all the things that would be possible if fear was not an issue. I like the quote by Susan Jeffers: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

 

4. You must renew the climb of the mountain each and every day! I like to think that this one I invented, but the truth of the matter is that I have heard a lot of people say this. Each day is new and we have to go out and start the metaphorical climb of the mountain each day. The idea here is to realize that you may not get to the top of the mountain everyday but that is OK. Sometimes the climb is harder today than it was yesterday or tomorrow. It just means that you have to start. That is the trick – just start, just show up, just be present.

 

5. LET GO AND WALK ON! I really like this phrase – I think that it another way to sum up Buddhism. The phrase is from Alan Watts. It is the idea that life is in a constant state of change, there is nothing that is permanent, everything changes. If you try to hold on to something, whatever it is, we miss the rest of life flowing by us. So “Let Go! AND Walk On!”

6. Linger in the moment. This one is from Pema Chodron. It is a way to help remind myself to stay in the moment. All of life happens in the present moment. The past is past, the future has not happened yet. All of life is right now, right here, right in this very moment while you are reading these words.

 

7. Embrace life. This is just a quote that I like. It reminds me that life is not fair, terrible things happen, good people and loved ones die. And most of the time there is nothing that you can do about it. This is life but you have a choice of whether to embrace it or reject it. I like to think that I have chosen to embrace it. To make a positive difference where ever I can.

 

8. Slip off the cloak and shackles of shame. Let vulnerability rein! Ah – SHAME – the hidden emotion! We wear shame like a cloak and it becomes so much a part of us that we do not realize we have it on. Like a well-worn leather jacket. It becomes very comfortable and colors all of our actions and decisions without us even knowing. A big THANK YOU to Brene Brown and her book called “Daring Greatly.” If you would have asked me last year if I had “shame” or if “shame” had ever influenced a decision I made, I would have thought you were crazy. But I now know that for the last 50 years of my life I have worn this cloak and it has colored everything in my life. And not in a good way.

 

9. YOU ARE OK JUST AS YOU ARE. YOU ARE ENOUGH. This is part of the above Quote. It goes with the idea of shame. The ideas that society tells you: you are never enough, never smart enough, never big enough, never good enough, never beautiful enough, never rich enough, never skinny enough, etc…. But YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE OK JUST AS YOU ARE.

 

10. All of life is distraction. This is just to remind me that life is made up of distractions. There is no rhyme or reason to it. We would like to say that we can control it but in reality we have no control except how we react to it. Good things happen, bad things happen, but there is no overseeing god or omnipresent being that controls it. Life just is and what you make of it, good or bad.

 

11. We do not see life as it really is, we see life as we are. This famous quote come from the writer Anais Nin. She was a remarkable woman who kept a journal for over 40 years. This quote is so true. I have to remind myself of this every day. Yes I will admit that sometimes I have a very “jaded” view of the world and that my jaded view is not how the world really is. When I am angry or sad or happy my view of the world changes and this is how it should be. But the trick is the realization that your view changes with your current state of mind.

Well this is the list that has evolved over 4 years of writing a journal. I know that it will continue to evolve as I write, but this is OK. Life is not static, it is movement and flow. Always in a state of change. My hope is that you found something helpful or interesting for further exploration.

It has again been a rainy week this past 7 days. And I have been working a lot at my day job. So I do not have many pictures to share with you this week of running. Instead I would like to share a few pictures of what I call my “Yard Art Faces.” The top one, the large sun face (about 5 to 6 feet in diameter) is the oldest being about 16 years old. I have had to repaint it twice in that time. But it still looks pretty good for its age and exposure to the elements. The middle one was my first step into making what I call functional art. The nose of the face is used as outdoor lighting. I had planned to paint in more details but after finishing the lips and teeth, it just felt that doing any more to it would take away from the shapes. The bottom one was made using plywood and old bicycle parts. This one is in a protected location but still outdoors and has held up pretty well.

Well that is it for me this week. I am hoping for sunnier and drier Colorado weather next week. Until then take care and see you out there!!

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY 15TH, MAY 2015

 

“THERE ARE THINGS KNOWN AND THERE ARE THINGS UNKNOWN, AND IN BETWEEN ARE THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION”
– Aldous Huxley

 

“PERCEPTION IS REALITY UNTIL IT IS CHANGED”

 

“THE FOOLISH REJECT WHAT THEY SEE, NOT WHAT THEY THINK. THE WISE REJECT WHAT THEY THINK, NOT WHAT THEY SEE” Huang Po

 

Perception, perception and perception – it is all about “conceived perception.” In the last year I have come to believe that what we experience, what we feel, what we like or dislike, etc… are all related to our imagined perceptions. And if we can change our perceptions of what we think, feel or experience then we can change our thinking and in turn our world. It is all up to us. I came to this current conclusion partly by journaling almost every day for the last 4 years. It brought me to the deduction that most of what we think of as “truth” is just made up. It is our perceptions and the perceptions of others that we come to live by. Those conceived perceptions are just made up in the mind and are subject to all the same mistakes, errors, faults and blunders that humans make every day. This is not to say that if you keep a very positive outlook on life that nothing will happen to you that is bad. Terrible, awful things happen in life, and on the flip side wonderful, incredibly beautiful and joyous things happen too. Those events happen and there is nothing we can do about it, except to remember that perception is the means we use for the interpretation of those events. Good or bad. It is a relative truth. The day to day things and events that we talk about, gossip about, Facebook about, sell, buy, etc…those things are all conceptual. Just made up and always in a state of change from person to person, culture to culture, year to year – ephemeral as a Mojave Desert steam in summer.

Ultimate Truth – the “direct and immediate experience” of an event – this is something different. It is perception but not “conceived perception” which is cluttered by all the day to day matters in your life. Instead this is direct experience, direct perception. You cannot hold this type of perception in your mind – you can only experience it, as it is happening, right then, right now, right in the moment. The pain or joy that I feel in doing an Ultramarathon is a way for me to experience that direct perception. When I am lucky enough and can clear my mind having no other thoughts in place except on breathing or the discomfort in my legs, I experience what is known as an ultimate truth. No preconceived notions, no worries about yesterday or tomorrow, no concerns about work, family or friends, just experiencing the moment as it unfolds, good or bad, makes no difference. It can be a way to experience nirvana.

Some people might call this Buddhism, I just call it two kinds of perception. Conceived perception (Relative Truth) and direct perception (Ultimate Truth). They are neither good nor bad – they just are and both are needed to survive in the world. As humans we all have the tendency to ignore what we see in favor of what we would like to imagine. The challenge is to realize this. To examine the world around you in a clear and cautious fashion, testing all ideas, all concepts and all agendas. Remembering that nothing is sacred. That everything is suspect. To comprehend what is real and what is just made up but seems real.

Wow not sure where that all came from, but these are my opinions and I am sticking to them at the moment. Of course all is suspect and might change by next week!

Well on a different note, it has been very wet on the Front Range of Colorado for the last 7 to 10 days. But this past Tuesday turned out to be a beautiful spring day in the Fort Collins area. The high only reached about 60 degree with very light winds. A perfect day for running or biking. Since my middle daughter was in town for a visit and wanted to go running and hiking that is what I did. The above two pictures were taken in Horsetooth Mountain Park. The top one is looking west towards Longs Peak. Still looks like there is a lot of snow in the high country. The next one is looking south towards Loveland. It was taken while running on Tower’s Road trail. The bottom two pictures were from Wednesday. Of course what a difference a day makes. Clouds, mist and the chance of rain back in the forecast. The second from bottom picture is looking north from the Shore Line Trail at Horsetooth Reservoir. The very bottom picture is also taken from the Shore Line Trail but looking south.

Well that is it for me this week – take care and see you out there!!