Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Growing and Moving

If you are a reader of this blog, thank you. I appreciate you coming here and sharing my thoughts. And, if you are a reader of this blog, you may have noticed that it has been a while since I have posted anything here. I continue to write, frequently, but now all of my posts and writings can be found at

If you have enjoyed this blog, I hope you will check out Original Strength. Again, thank you so much for reading my thoughts.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Consider the Salmon

Have you ever thought about the Salmon? I don't mean from a "health food" perspective, I mean from a "life view' perspective. If you don't know what I mean, Salmon are the fish that leave the ocean to swim against the currents of the rivers so that they can spawn, or recreate. That has to be one amazing journey, if you think about it. In fact, the journey of a salmon can teach us a lot about life and what life should be like. 

Yes, the guy who often tells you to learn from watching how children grow and develop is now telling you to learn from observing how a salmon lives. What can I say? I am finding hidden treasures everywhere.

Anyway, consider the salmon's journey. They actually swim upstream, up waterfalls, over rocks, and through grizzly bear traps for one purpose: To create life. A salmon's whole life culminates to this one event, usually their last event. Think about it. They grow and develop out in the ocean. Then one day, when they are called, they set out on the journey of a lifetime, all for the purpose of creating. 

Here is the lesson: Salmon don't exist. They live. They have a purpose, and they let NOTHING stop them from pursing their purpose. They don't know how to settle for less than their purpose. 

If a lowly salmon (a fish)  lives in such a way, a way of perseverance and triumph, shouldn't we as humans strive to live for our purpose as well? Shouldn't we fight against all odds to create, to engage, to live? If a salmon doesn't settle for existence, should we settle? No. We should strive to live much like the salmon. We shouldn't settle for less than our given purpose: To create and to live. Yes, you were made to create. I don't know what you were made to create, but you have something to offer. You have something to give. You have a life that was made to live, to be a spark that adds to the world, not takes from the world. 

Salmon swim up waterfalls. That would be utterly impossible if you did not know for a fact that salmon can do it. Salmon don't know impossible, they don't know quit. They only know desire and effort. They only know success born out of intense passion and purpose. In our world, we have taught ourselves how to settle. We have learned to "go with the flow. " Please understand, dead things go with the flow. Dead branches and leaves float downstream. It takes no effort to go with the flow. Any dead thing can float down stream. LIFE swims upstream. Whatever your purpose is, whatever your creative contribution is, it lives upstream. Life is inside the journey of swimming upstream, up waterfalls. over rocks and through bear traps. 

Is there something inside of you begging to swim upstream, a "call of the wild"?  Is there a life hidden for you that is waiting to be revealed, to be lived? If you are not swimming upstream, you are not living. You are settling and you are dead. If you are not satisfied with your life, if you want more, wake up and fight the current. Start swimming upstream and live your life. Fulfill the purpose that only you can fulfill. Create something you were made to create. Consider the life of the salmon.

Health Tie-In Alert 

In case you were wondering, "what in the sam-hill does this have to do with health and movement?" Well, this has everything to do with health and movement. In our world, it is easy to get pulled downstream and let the apathy of our surroundings drown us. It is easy to sit and do nothing. It is easy to say things like, "when you get older, things just fall apart", or "I know I need to be healthy, but I just don't have the energy to go for a walk." Thoughts like that are simply The Raging River of Physical Death pulling you downstream to drown you. After all, if you get drowned, you cannot create, you cannot live, you cannot make the world a better place. 

The truth is, you were made to swim upstream. You were made to add to this world. There are many "rivers" in our lives. All of them will try to pull you under and keep you from the top of the mountain, from your purpose.  There is a raging river of physical death and it's sole purpose is to keep you lazy, sick, obese, hurt, fearful and immobile. Why? Because it is hard to create, to give life and to live life, when you are not healthy. It is hard to love others and contribute to society when you are consumed by your own sickness, your own infirmities, and your own inabilities. One of the secretes to fulfilling your purpose, to creating life, is to walk around in health. When you feel good, you have the strength, energy, and creativity to change the world. When you feel good, you can easily love and give to others. This is why it is so important to swim against the current of physical death and apathy. 

I know this is a bit "out there", but this message is the truth: You were made to move, to be strong, to live and to create. You have a purpose. You cannot fulfill your purpose, you cannot truly live, if you allow yourself to settle; to simply float or sink with the currents of this world. Just like the salmon, you must learn how to swim up waterfalls. It is not impossible. You were made to swim up life's waterfalls. 

I challenge you to get up right now and go for a walk. As you walk, consider the life of a salmon. If a fish can do something so amazing, how much more could you do? 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shifting Sand

In your daily life, are you surrounded by man-made terrain, or are you surrounded by God-made terrain? Do you blunt and blind your senses with shoes? Do you rob and starve your brain by being sedentary? 

I ask these questions because this weekend I am at the beach. Yesterday I was walking, running, and playing in the sand, the shifting sand. I realize that I was exposing my brain and body to rich sensory information. The shifting sand, the sun, the wind - they were all coming together to create an experience, a buffet of nourishment for my brain.

We were created to be nourished and flooded with rich, sensory information ever single day. It shouldn't be a rare treat. But yet, for most of us, we have traded in our rich sensory buffet for day-old bread and water.  That is most of us spend the majority of our time sedentary, in shoes, under fluorescent lights, or in a concrete "jungle." 

We are simply not experiencing all the rich nourishment and vitality that has been created for us. We are settling for bread and water when we could be out dining on steak and wine (metaphorically). Our bodies were made for the sensory experience that our world is supposed to provide. Experiencing our world in it's natural form - walking in the grass, climbing hills, going for hikes, playing in the surf - is one of the pleasures that not only nourishes our brains, it fine tunes our bodies. It strengthens our souls and literally makes us stronger and healthier. 

We were not meant for a life in the "civilized" jungle of concrete, brick walls, and fake lighting. Blue skies, cotton-ball clouds, and rolling green hills were actually created to romance us into exploration and vitality. Do you want to improve your health? To lift your spirit? To reduce your stress? Take off your shoes and go for a walk in the grass. Let the blades of grass kiss the virgin space between your toes. It will pleasure your brain and lift your soul. It will help turn your hamstrings on and put a spring in your step. 

The point is, bust out! If you want to experience the fullest level of health you were created to have, you need to experience the wonder and gift of all the beauty and textures that have been placed around you. Chairs should only be used to rest in - not live in. Shoes should only be used to protect your feet when necessary. They shouldn't be a coffin of sensory deprivation. 

I know we can't live outside all of the time, nor do we need to forsake homes and shelter. But, we should experience our world often, if not daily. We are putting ourselves in isolation and we are moving further and further away from the vitality we were created for. We are afraid of germs, we live to eat and sit in chairs, and we walk around in a weird stressed state of anxiety mixed with the depression of a lifetime of "what ifs". 

It is time to trade in the stress and brokenness of existence for the joy and wholeness of life. Man cannot live on bread and water alone. We were made for a buffet of rich, sensuous "food". Take off your shoes, go outside and experience the beauty that is waiting to nourish you back to life. Go play in the shifting sands.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Showing Up

Two thousand years ago, people walked most everywhere they went. And, chances are, most places people often found themselves at where places of employment. Maybe it was a farm, a battlefield, a huge ship, a constuction site, or whatever. Way back when, most jobs were physical. They required some degree of manual labor. So people often walked to work, they worked, then they often walked home. The point is, people moved - A LOT. They were probably in great physical shape. They had to be, their lives depended on their bodies' ability to move. 

Todays world is very different for most of us. Many of us drive to work, and when we get there, work is not too physically demanding. We aren't building pyramids, plowing fields, over-taking castles, or sailing the seven seas. We are holding down office chairs, staring into screens, or texting on our hand-held, condensed "world." Many of us are not in great physical shape because we no longer have to be - our lives no longer depend on our ability to move to earn a living. 

But that is the lie, isn't it? Our lives really do depend on our ability to move well, don't they? Think about it, if we can't move well, we simply are not going to enjoy this life we have to live. In fact, if we can't move well, many of us will think this life is not that great to live and we may spend all our time thinking about how "old" we've become, or how much it hurts to move, or how one day we may have to ride around the mega-store on our Easy Rider. 

We need to wake up. We are heading down a path that leads to a very deep pit. A pit so deep it will be hard to climb out of; especially with a soft, large, overweight, sluggish body. Easy Riders don't climb, folks. 

We need to become like our ancestors before us. We need to go to work. We need to move deliberately throughout the day. I'm not saying we should all trade in our jobs for manual labor, but I am saying we should all be deliberate in our attempts to find ways to move. 

Moving is so restorative that it only takes a little bit here and there to overcome much of the damage we create by being sedentary. Two to three ten minute movement sessions splashed in and throughout your day can keep your body mobile, strong and healthy. Think about that: 30 deliberate minutes of moving every day can keep you out of an Easy Rider/Walmart Cart when you are 50 years old. Two to three movement breaks a day can keep you action ready when your 70 or 80 years old too. 

Deliberate moving should become our "new job" because we are no longer forced to move. So, we must force ourselves to move. We must show up day in and day out. We must find ways to move, to play, to explore. We were meant to live well over 100 years of age, with HEALTH and VITALITY. You know it's true, you just have a hard time accepting it because you don't see it actually happening. Instead, you see a great deal of 50 to 60 year olds trading in their legs for motorized shopping carts, or recliners. 

Show up. Every day. Make moving a priority. Go to work. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Have We Gone Too Far?

We are starting to get too big for our britches. Or at least it seems like maybe we are. We have started saying seemingly weird things like, "You have to earn the right to move, or do whatever.", or "That person has good, quality movement." I am sure these sayings, and others like them, are not meant with any harm towards anyone but they can be harmful, if not misleading.

We were all made to move. Therefore, by birth, we have earned the right to move. Whether or not we own a foundation to perform various moves is another matter. However, it is a matter that can be easily addressed. All of us can address our movement issues by simply returning to the movements that we were designed to grow by. Our developmental movement patterns are the movements that build a solid foundation of strength and stability from which we can discover and learn how to add other movements. 

Basically, we "earn the right" to move by being born and then learning how to move. We retain our movement foundation and abilities by continuing to move - by being active. We forfeit our ability to perform certain movements by choosing an inactive lifestyle. Inactivity, if anything, steals our movement birthright. Again, this can be easily addressed though because we were simply made to move. If we are not moving the way we should, or want to, we just need to go back to the beginning and re-learn what we once knew. It is miraculous how spending some time on the ground can help us fill in movement gaps in our bodies. 

Which brings me to the point of having "good, quality movement." We all possess good, quality movement. Whether or not we all display "good, quality movement" to whoever is judging that movement is another story. The eye is subjective and perception tints the lens. Anyway, we were all made to have good, quality movement. We were made to move with grace, strength and fluidity. Our bodies were designed to resemble poetry. This ability belongs to all of us. If we are not moving with the grace and efficiency we were made to have, all we have to do is find it. The grace, the poetry, of our movement is kept inside of our brains. It is hardwired into us. Our developmental patterns (spending time on the ground) are the keys to unlocking this graceful potential that we possess. 

The point is this: you are not lacking anything that you need. If you are missing a movement, a reflex, a posture, a strength that you want to have, or that you need to have, it is in you. All you have to do is remember it. All you have to do is "press reset" - relearn how to roll, rock, crawl and walk again. The beauty that you were made for rests in the simplicity of a child's ways. 

You were made to move. It is your birthright to move like poetry. Don't believe anything less than that. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Hero Rises

It is a happy day today. My father-in-law is getting married today. Three years ago, his wife, my mother-in-law, passed away. I wrote a blog about that three Aprils ago. Anyway, today, a hero rises. 

Two heroes actually. Our hero is marrying a wonderful lady, a lady who herself lost her husband some time ago. These two heroes are coming together today because they want to share their lives with each other. Its really a beautiful thing.  

I am sure you're wondering, "what in the blue blazes does this have to do with health?" This has everything to do with health. In this life, things happen - good or bad. It is how we handle these things that determine our outcome, our health. We can shrink away when bad things happen, and then ultimately fade away. OR, we can dust ourselves off, rise back up and soar with wings like an eagle. Again, heroes rise. 

We were all meant to be heroes. None of us - not one of us - was meant to do anything except soar through life like an eagle. We weren't meant to be knocked down for the count. We were made to stand.  AND should we ever fall, we were made to get back up. 

Don't miss this. This has everything to do with your health. How do you handle tough situations? Do you shrink in fear or depression, or do you dust yourself off and stand back up? Do you grit your teeth, hold your head up and resist defeat? Are you more like Rocky Balboa, or Chicken Little? Our attitude towards life greatly effects our physical health. Yes, mental health has a direct link to your physical health. If you think sick thoughts, your body will manifest those thoughts. If you think resilient thoughts, your body will manifest those as well. 

I don't know if you are going through any hard times. And, if you have or if you are, I don't presume that I understand how you feel. I don't. But I do know this: you were meant to be a hero, a warrior, a victor. Whatever you are going through, you can overcome it. Don't stop standing. Rise up and strengthen your wings. Soar. 

Life is meant to be lived. You were meant to live it. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Easy Health

Getting healthy, and staying healthy, may be easier than we think. At least I am starting to think it is easier than I used to think. For years I would spend at least an hour a day, sometimes every day, training. Of course, if the truth is known, I was training more out of a needless compulsion and my training had less to do with health than it did with asthetics. I have changed a great deal in the last 25 years, but I still try to train almost every single day. 

But now, I train for my health. I just want to be healthy and capable. I want to move with ease and freedom. I want to be able to do what my kids do, and create adventures with my family. Basically, I want to be able to enjoy this life I have been given. What I am learning is that being healthy doesn't have to be all that hard. Training, I mean, doesn't have to be as grueling, laborious, fruitless, and time consuming as I once made it. I am starting to beleive that a person can achieve and maintain a healthy body in just 10 minutes a day. 

Why 10 minutes? Because I am getting busy lately and I am learning how to train in 10 minute segments. Somedays, like today, I might train for 10 minutes in the morning. And then later in that same day, I might "play" or train for another 10 minutes. Or, I may only get 10 minutes in and that is it. 

I think of this as sort of an Easy Health routine, much like Dan John's Easy Strength. Exept here, I just focus on moving - usually with bodyweight (mostly crawling stuff) - for 10 minutes instead of performing 10 reps with an exercise. 

10 minutes isn't that long. I can sneak 10 minutes out of my day. And even though 10 minutes isn't that long, I can get in some quality, life enhancing movement. For instance, today I lateral Spider-man crawled for 10 straight minutes (crawling sideways on hands and feet, with butt down low - not a bear crawl). Do you know what a person is capable of if they can lateral Spider-man crawl for 10 straight minutes? Anything; not too much they can't do. 

Maybe you don't like crawling. Maybe you like pushups. What if you carved out 10 minutes in your day to just do pushups? Maybe you do 10 pushups on the minute, every minute. That's 100 pushups in 10 minutes. Not too bad. Maybe you do 20 pushups on the minute, every minute. You could work as hard as you wanted to in 10 minutes. You could do some quality moving in 10 minutes. What if you felt so good, and it was so easy to find 10 minutes in your day, you found another 10 minutes later in that same day? Do you think you could find a way to get in some fairly constant movement for another 10 minutes? I'll bet you could. It's kinda easy.

Here is the cool thing. The body is pretty resilient. It will take the 10 minutes of movement we give it, and it will overcome several of the hours that we starve it from not moving. Even if the majority of your day is in a chair - and this has been shown to take years off your life - 10 minutes a day can restore and undo so much of the damage that we create by neglect. Your body knows exactly what to do with 10 minutes of easy, simple, quality movement: It heals and restores your health. 

Is this too simple to work? Yes. That is why you might miss it. Just 10 minutes a day can restore and maintain your health. I'll bet on somedays you could find two to three 10 minute blocks throughout your day. You can get a lot done in 10 minutes - if you are intentional. 

Be intentional. Crawl, walk, run, skip, squat, burpee, whatever for 10 minutes a day, at least once per day. Fill the 10 minutes with as much quality movement as possible. Rest as much as you need to, if you need to. This works.