Health

Portal

What an odd experience it is to be sequestered, to be in lockdown. I’m certain that we all feel some level of frustration, uncertainty, helplessness, and/or inquiry into one, or many, dimensions of our central, global coronavirus motif. Admittedly, my biggest challenge is the same now as always, not to be overly occupied with beliefs on various topics. Perhaps that’s why I keep returning to the theme of holding space for insight and change. Humorously, even this is based on my own viewpoints. Notwithstanding, I step into the enquiry: can this time be a catalyst for a shift in the

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I Am

The title of this post is a shameless copy from my best mate’s blog post. Dano has a tremendously optimistic view in life, and he’s constantly teaching me to give people the opportunity to shine. Yet, with race and event cancellations, the global pandemic, uncertainty abounding on (too) many levels, and the growing virus on his island paradise even he is feeling that it’s “hard not to have it get to you.” It’s ‘Aloha Friday’ and he wrote about some things for which he’s grateful. As I read his words I could hear his voice in my head, see his

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The Questions

Every day starts the same for me—lockdown or not.Meditation, reading, then asanas & stretches with a bit of chanting. Not much changes when looking solely at the routine. Likewise, while confined to my own residence, not much changes in my immediate surroundings either: inside trainer ride when it’s raining, outside trainer ride when it’s not. But just as the outer world moves along with constant change, so too does the inner world. The tendencies of the mind are always in flux: how my body feels, my mood, my energy level, stress and fatigue levels, and desires or lack thereof. I

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Toolbox

There’s no doubt about it, lockdown quarantine is getting to me. I’m a loner. I’m single. I live alone. I’ve been a nomad for a decade. At first, I begrudgingly accepted that my life developed this way. Over the last several years, however, I’ve embraced this lifestyle because it provides tremendous opportunities to travel, experience different cultures, and see things that most people only dream about or only see via visual media. This way of life also allows for immersing myself in quietness, something I find immensely soothing. I thrive when living in a cabin in the woods where nature

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Types Of Quiet

I entered the hall with our group, filming to capture the moment. Then, I turned towards the statue of Sri Ramana Maharshi and my world flipped upside-down: the power and presence of Maharshi reached in and took hold. I directly experienced Bhagavan and crumbled to my knees crying. Quiet #1: SpiritYears ago, I’d read a few books containing Ramana’s teachings, but I never imagined visiting Sri Ramanashram. It seemed to me that it was a place reserved solely for highly committed devotees. Yet, there I was, unmistakably overwhelmed in my heart and not understanding why. Over the following two weeks,

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Movement

Close friends and family know that I’m a much happier person, and a great deal more pleasant to be around, after I’ve exercised. This is especially true following longer duration sessions, whether that be biking, running, swimming, or downhill skiing. The reason for the increase in affability is multifold. In her book, “Joy of Movement”, Kelly McGonigal does a science-based deep dive into the health-enhancing and life-extending benefits of exercise and movement. The underlying mechanisms may surprise you, they did me. Without question, exercise helps create happiness, meaning, and connection! ❝ McGonigal draws on insights from neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and

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Sunrise — Sunset

For the past month, I’ve been bookending my days with each sunrise & sunset. It’s been very nurturing and fulfilling. Why is this? We know that early light exposure aids our circadian rhythms. ❝The body craves rhythm. The body would love to go to bed and get up at pretty regular times. And certainly one of the biggest and most effective changes people could make to their sleep is to actually fix wake up time.❞ ~Dr Neil Stanley I also feel more in touch with and connected to nature. Grounded and grateful in the simplicity of the present moment. Satisfied.

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Downtime

Off-Season

It took me many years to learn the importance of downtime. This year, I finally headed advice from Alan Couzens and took an entire month of complete rest. Alan, Mike James, and many others know the importance of enjoying another 4-6 weeks, after the complete rest period, for really light, even unplanned exercise. This is sometimes known as the Transition phase. Between time off and ‘soft’ month that’s 8 weeks of no training!! It’s been an incredible experience for me these last 7 weeks to watch the progression in my mind and body as structures heal, the mind recharges, and

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Shinrin-yoku

Sanity is a walk in the forest: · Terpenes· Quietness· Nature’s timing Autumn scent and feel is in the air.Birds are much quieter than even a month ago.The species have changed a bit too. Green remains the predominant colour,which isn’t a surprise given the amount of rain recently.But once cold nights settle in the leaves will quickly reflect a different spectrum. Nightfall arrives sooner in the dayand with deep darkness; perfect for sleeping.And the sound of a fire in the wood stove rejoins my morning meditation. Without a doubt, spring is my favourite season.Yet, there is immense beauty as summer

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Messy

You’ve probably heard it before.Perhaps, like me, you’ve resisted the message.Even so, it’s true;equally as much for athletics as for recovery. “Progress is not linear.” The look of joy as health returns. AthleticsThis year has been far less about my physical fitness progression and much more about spiritual and mental development. This was not by design. For the first time, I’ve struggled with a physical injury and blood markers that have hampered my training. Fortunately, I’ve also been living much closer to nature thereby supporting inquiry. I’ve spent a lot of time getting clear about my ikigai (reason for being)

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Twist of Lime

It was a miserable, miserable day at Ironman Ireland, Cork. Nearing the finish line, I was tremendously grateful that it was over. Yet, a few days later I began to taste a sweet twist of lime that I had missed during the 11+ hours of heavy rain and wind. The pelting downpour, cold temperatures and poor logistics management by the race organisation were challenging, to say the least. However, the continual outpour of well-wishing and support from the spectators was heart-warming; for them, I kept digging deeper. Deluge The Youghal and County Cork residents are perhaps the most wonderful people I’ve

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Dark Night

I’ve made it through another dark night. While I can’t say for certain that it’s over, it does feel like I’ve stepped through a door. And on this side of the threshold, I can see two things that have helped me reach this point. Consistent, healthy routinesDuring this difficult time, I’ve relied on practices that support my wellbeing. Over time I’ve learned that there are six keystones to my health: sleep, good nutrition, community (support and connection**), time in nature, regular exercise, and daily meditation. I’m constantly tuning each of these but they have all proven to be essential. Thanks

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Unravelling

Nature is always there for me, exactly how I am. Upon rising yesterday I was pulled away from the meditation cushion and encouraged instead get outside directly. After stuffing a thermos of tea in my pack of swim gear I set off for an early walk around the lake, returning to the dock where I’d swim and meditate. It was clear that the Universe was inviting me into a healing space with fresh air, bird songs, rising sun, and movement that was different from my regular stretching and rolling. For over a month I’ve been struggling with incapacities in my

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Clarity

When we’re not clear with ourselves about who we are and what we want it’s impossible to have clear and effective communication with others. We’ll make things up (consciously or unconsciously), and we’ll take things personally because we don’t really know what we feel or believe. Until we get clear about what we feel, and learn to express this with nonviolent diction, we’re only fooling ourselves. Growing up I learned to be a perfectionist because it provided a way for me to feel like I had some control in my life. What I didn’t realise was that the OCD behaviour allowed

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Cabin in the Woods

Workload

In athletics, there’s a term called Heart Rate Drift. It indicates our body’s response to work over time. In everyday life we might call this running out of steam. In either case, the effect may not be initially obvious. In the graph you can see how my heart rate increased over the course of 5 high-intensity intervals (no.’s 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10). Notice that my run pace increased during the first three intervals as I ramped up the effort. (I held back a bit on the first couple because I didn’t want to flash burn and have nothing

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