It’s been almost three years since I last lined up at an athletic start line. A lot has happened since then, perhaps most of all internally. Unsurprisingly, there are different movement patterns appearing this time around. On the morning of race-day while sitting in meditation, I notice that the mind is generating more noise than what I discern on most mornings. Discord reverberates through the body as anxiety. Like a tap on the shoulder, a question arises; “Who, or what, was there before the mind’s gesticulations?” By turning attention towards the underlying, or real, nature of experience—that which is independent
I often feel disappointed that I can’t push this body as hard as I’d like to do. I question sometimes my ability to achieve some of my athletic goals. But what always stands out is gratitude for learning and experiencing. I inquire, enquire, search and experience; the result is that I’m ultimately thankful for this crucible. I’ve been to the edge of giving up an endurance path. It’s a lot of friggin work and requires a constant commitment to integrity. But my health is ultimately far better than it would have been had I stopped walking this route. Physically, metabolic
❝ If you’re listening to the body when it whispers to you, you don’t have to hear it scream.❞~Nils van der Poel This post is not another archetypal analysis of the 5 on – 2 off, big volume training program published by Nils, https://www.howtoskate.se/. Instead, I’d like to look closer at something I’ve not seen anyone else discuss: reducing mental load and increasing confidence. “I wasn’t mentally strong as a kid, I hated to compete ever since I started speed skating, I truly hated it.” This point was made crystal clear in Nils’ “Sommarprat” 2021. In fact, he had a
The quote at the bottom of this post resonates directly with one of the most important aspects of living a human life: awareness of the space in-between. In my late teens and early twenties, I showed clear evidence of an innate curiosity—an interest, or pull, to investigate the subtler aspects of existence unfazed by time. Unfortunately, the outward manifestation of pliant thoughtfulness was unmistakably absent. It wasn’t until after divorce, depression and recovery that the notion of “open questioning” became evident: (a concept my ex, now my best friend, tried for years to engage with me). As if a veil
Two very special friends have agreed to crew for me at the Ultraman World Championships 2022. I am humbled by them as individuals and that they choose to be a part of this Soulful Sojourn. Crewing for a three day Ultraman race is a very rewarding job tho not an easy one. It includes very long days full of logistics, food preparation, equipment care, cleanup and, amongst many other things, providing mental and emotional support to the athlete. This allows the competitor to focus on one task—swim, bike, and run 515 kilometres punctuated by eating and a couple of nights
Nothing about the spot in front of this fireplace ever gets old. It’s certainly a safe place for me, but what else? While talking with my coach about movement patterns I shared that “I get wound up easily.” To counter this, I need to be as conscious as possible to move in exactly the opposite way, chill. I’ve spent my life investigating what this means. At first I thought it was about how I ‘acted’. It became painfully evident that there was more to it—something much deeper inviting, calling and guiding. It was a bit like seeing an object out
❝ I have little to no interest in extreme mystical states—I have enough on my hands chopping wood and carrying water. I would be truly disappointed if some mystical shortcut bypassed these kind of efforts. I think I like to plod along and rub shoulders with the mundane, with its subtle surprises.❞ This quote is by a very dear friend who has a knack for clearly expressing small mysteries. For years I scaled back the amount of stuff I owned or travelled with. I needed to declutter. A lot of it had to do with cleaning house internally—mind, body, spirit.
Several years ago I battled with depression. It was hell. Thanks only to a dear friend who actually heard me, and realised the severity of my state, did things turn around. I’m happy and healthy now. But just as in addiction recovery, I have to make a conscious choice every day to shun the melancholic vortex and choose healthier paths. This takes energy. Physical exercise takes energy as well. As an endurance athlete, I spend many hours each week in training: yoga, swimming, biking, running, strength workouts and more. I do it because I love moving my body, being fit
Occasionally, clarity presides. For me, it happens most often when sitting quietly in or after meditation. Life, in its wondrous simplicity …just …happens. Later, the individual ‘I’, believing itself to be the creator, moves about attempting to orchestrate and manage. This is both true and false at the same time. True because, the separate self creates all manner of illusions in pain and happiness. False, because these veils, overlaid on reality, mislead and complicate unnecessarily. Yesterday, while skiing, it was clear that no thought was required in order to transition the body effectively through the complex array of neural and
❝ Healing is not born of vanity. It is born of honesty. Honesty is born of pure love. And love is the most divine healer, the sweetest, holiest and most effective.❞ ~Val Kilmer I have no regrets, nor am I embarrassed. I make no excuses, nor do I feel shame. Instead, I hold dear, and strive to uphold in myself, authenticity and honesty. These two take me by the hand and lead quickly to their cousin, vulnerability. It is through this triad that I bear witness to existence, though it’s not always painless. Why is raw openness often uncomfortable? Perhaps
There’s a lot of talk about polarised training—most training is performed at low intensity and a small amount at higher intensities, once a solid foundation is developed. Training needs to become more polarised as an athlete’s fitness level increases in order to ensure that metabolic load is maintained. However, a lower level athlete can’t really train in a polarised fashion because low intensity is already a high load on the system. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly difficult to put into practice for people who have a lower level of fitness. Lack of fitness is not due to lack of intensity.
I wish I could figure out my cycles of anxiety so that I could better mitigate and manage them. I have origin theories but nothing concrete. Yesterday morning, the quietness inside was conspicuous. As the day progressed, however, I could feel anxiety building. I suspect that the underlying catalyst was disappointment in a task for which I had high hopes compounded by physical exhaustion that drains my mental and emotional reserves. (Note: The ‘task’ in this case was not the roof about which I’ve recently posted (on IG) and am incredibly proud.) When the waters calm then sediment falls out of
I’m now 55, fit & healthy in mind, body, and spirit. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is a team effort. Friends and loved ones are constantly my teachers. They hold a mirror up for me. They support me. I try to do the same for them. Thank you. Love you. Constant self-enquiry. Abiding in the present moment. These reveal the delusion of duality. ❝ The peace and quiet I thought I was experiencing was not really an experience at all. It was my own real nature. It was what I always am. ❞ ~Nothing Ever Happened Vol. 3: Papaji Biography.
❝ Zone 3 is too much pain for too little gain.❞ Let’s tease this apart a bit to gain more understanding. • Zone 3, in a five-zone exercise intensity model, is the workload often called ‘tempo’ or ‘threshold work’, meaning that the intensity is just below Ventilatory Threshold 2 (VT2) and the Anerobic Threshold (AnT), which is the approximate boundary between zone 3 and zone 4. Above VT2/AnT is where interval sessions are typically done. • Pain refers to more than just the sensation of experience; it’s the overall cost to the body: i.e. substrate (fuel) utilisation, tissue health, overall
Even if you’re only doing what’s fun, it’s still 𝙙𝙤-𝙞𝙣𝙜.Enjoying one’s work is not permission to continually extract.Fallow & replenishment are necessary. Nature has day and night, cold and warm, wet and dry, and four seasons for a reason. Humans have a multitude of circadian rhythms. We can work with them or, to our peril, fight them. In a podcast episode entitled Burnout and Renewal, Charles Eisenstein opened up and bared himself. He started by doing what he always does, investigate the substratum of life. In this case, he became the subject of enquiry. Devorah Brous beautifully went down the