Moved in a Different Direction

Hello, everyone,

I have recently been expanding my blogging realm, and I decided to purchase a domain name. Thus, I will be continuing my writings at my new blog at The White Blaze.

I hope those who kept up here will follow me on my journey there, too! Thanks for being here and supporting me all along!

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Filed under Environment, Mental, Musings, Physical, Spiritual

Combined Efforts

I discovered this week how true it is that our combined efforts are what bring us our ultimate success and victories or, even, our faults. Team work is established well in many team sports. If this guy doesn’t block here or this guy doesn’t jump, there will be no score, advancement, turnover, etc. While this seems obvious at first, I have learned that, through the last couple weeks, teamwork is harder to come by than it seems. Fighting among each other, ranting and raving, being tired, and many other reasons lead to some slackers and other performers. Each team seems to have someone who keeps moving no matter what, who keeps giving their 110%, if only to pick up the slack of the half of the team that only gives about 90%. However, if just one or two more people on their team (or the others) makes it up to that 110% margin, this is where victory comes. True success is when everyone on the team gives the 110%. Here are two reasons to keep all of our efforts combined, whether we are working as a team or adding up our days.

1. Push harder now to reach your goals. An achievement is made true by combining all of our efforts, both the good and the bad. If you push through at 110% all of the time, your bad times will not seem so bad, and your small victories along the way will help to boost you tremendously. Taking this train head on, we are more capable of facing it. We will also begin to see the glass half full.

2. The are all links. No matter how many bad experiences you will have or even good ones, they are all a link in the chain to your goal. By removing one or two, you will lose connection and surely fall off track. By combining all of these together and seeing them as whole and together, we will be able to truly succeed whether by ourselves or as a team.

Just a little muse. . . The more people we have working 110%, the better. Let us help to bring others to this goal. The more people we bring here, the better our earth and lives will be.

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Moving Musing #2: Perseverance

A few years ago, I walked into the YMCA ready to lift some weights, much as I normally did about three times a week. My motivation wasn’t lacking too badly,but I could certainly tell that today was not my greatest day; however, I continued onward back to the bench press and squat racks. Out of what seemed like no where, a somewhat unfamiliar voice was talking a bit loudly, yet not in a rude fashion. I look up to see a man on a stationary bike, struggling, but this was not just any man. The man who was sitting on–and pedaling–the stationary bike, was usually wheel chair bound. My eyes grew to the size of basketballs in amazement. I didn’t even know he had use of his legs, let alone enough to ride a bike. I dropped all the weights that I had picked up and tried not to stare in a rude fashion, but I almost could not resist watching him. Inspiration at its greatest. The man struggled greatly indeed, for he had not only some disease that prevented 95% of the use of his legs and body, but he struggled to stay on the bike and other things let alone pedal, but the most amazing part was that the was on the bike at all, and moving. For the next hour, I watched in amusement as this nearly crippled man pedaled onward for almost 6 miles, chanting to himself all the way, “C’mon, man, cmon! You can do it, man!” His perseverance that day will linger with me forever, for he never gave up, even in the face of the most adversity that one could face. I now have no excuse not to move, and I hope this serves as one to you, too. Persevere and you will climb mountains.

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Moving Musing #1: A Rainy Trail

In an effort to begin a somewhat weekly set of musings, I have written this shortly after an experience last night. I want to present musings that will help move us, either environmentally, which most of them will be, but also physically, spiritually, and mentally. These musings will come from various life experiences, stories, and accomplishments. It’s just been an idea of mine since viewing one of my favorite blogs, so I figured we could give it a try here, too. They will be somewhat poetic and meant to be read aloud, but they will also be in somewhat of an essay format. I just hope they move you like they’ve moved me. So here goes. . . We call this one A Rainy Trail. 

Drip. Drop. Trickle. I release a slow and deep breath as my feet, in my most minimal shoes, pound against the soft and moist earthen trail. Dodging roots and rocks, I make my way up a hill, slowly at first, and then more steadily, as the lactic acid begins to pump through my veins. I have just started my trail run, and it is a beautiful day, for today it is raining in the late afternoon, and I, being alone, travel lightly and minimally through the forest. Keeping my own pace, I round the crest of the first hill, and to my amazement begin to fill with more than the oxygen that my legs most dearly desired. The stunning scene of trees that surrounds me is almost breathtaking, and I surely needed more oxygen and not less. For the first time in two months, I saw more green than at spring time. This was the first drink for these trees in quite some time, and they had thirsted much. Now full and contented, they shone with a hew of green indescribable. The next 3 miles were full of green and more green, as if the Earth had never been touched. This gave me hope for the world. I did not understand how someone could move through such a scene and not be moved. As I sloped down the cut back on the second hill, I crossed near the lakeside. A steamy, solemn view, it opened my eyes even more. The rain seemed to come down so slowly, yet so powerfully, that I could watch every rain drop hit the still glass pane of the lake, creating ripples until they were broken again by another rain drop. The foggy dew of the lake spilled over into the forest and set a somber tone. Mother Earth was thirsty and dirty, and now she had gotten her shower on this rainy trail, a most beautiful site to behind. I hope to see more rainy trails soon, for you and I both. For nature’s best photograph is a rainy forest. Good luck travelers, and I hope you are moved. 

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How to Move Every Day This Week

Most adults and children struggle with reaching 10,000 steps per day. To help this, I have devised a small plan with tips on reaching your 70,000 steps this week. Here is one tip for every day of the week.

  1. Don’t make it a hassle. First of all, moving is natural, so let it be natural. If you absolutely despise running or exercising, then do not think of movement as exercise. It all comes down to brain chemicals. Remove a “have to” philosophy and you will be halfway to the goal.
  2. Make time. Most of us live extremely busy lives, which some of us cannot help. What we can help, though, is some of our free time. Use your free time wisely. Instead of sitting down at 6pm and listening to gossip and news on TV about this and that, take a walk with your dog, go water your trees, or head to the gym. Most of the time it is not that we don’t have enough time but that we do not use our time wisely. 
  3. Make it fun. Doing something we hate, especially for a long time, is usually not very healthy. To counter this, make your movement fun. If all you do is play basketball every day this week instead of run, that’s great! Some movement is better than no movement.
  4. Mix it up. Sometimes our days become monotonous and dreadful because we do the same thing every day, which usually consists of a lot that we dislike. By mixing up what we do like and using less of what we don’t, we will not burnout as fast, which will help us keep moving.
  5. Take baby steps. Not too many people ever went to run a marathon in one day or week because they wanted too. Like them, you will have to work up to your goals, which is fine. Steady yourself daily, mix it up, and take baby steps when moving.
  6. Go forward, not backward. Whenever we move, remember why we are moving. Our utmost reason to move is to improve. Keep that in mind, even if it begins to hurt, and you will be solid in your moving.
  7. Keep moving. Whether you take the stairs, commute to work by bike, or even just start doing yoga, any movement is better than none. Once you start, chances are you won’t want to stop. Keeping moving in any way possible, even in the smallest steps, adds up to a whole bunch of moving. Piece it together overtime and keep pushing forward, and you will be a master at moving every day this week and hopefully every week.

Keep in mind that these 7 tips do not just apply to physical movement, also. You can apply them all to mental, environmental, and spiritual movements as well. As for now though, use them to just keep moving.

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Our Other Time Debts

In preparation for what I will call a “mini-manifesto” post soon, I came upon the idea of time. Thousands upon thousands of new texts flood the market everyday which tell us how to become our own boss, live our passion, and utilize our time on this earth. I have yet to come across any viable way of doing so, but I have given it much thought and some action. I am currently almost finished reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (100startup.com). The book is an excellent read, if only for inspiration(for blog posts of course!). It goes into a bit of detail of business related topics of which I have little to no expertise, but the book as a whole has opened my eyes.

While this post is not meant to be a book review, I wanted to throw out a topic that has concerned me recently: time. Of course, anyone with full time knows how “time debt” works. 40 hour weeks plus overtime, right? Wrong. Though I am not a “full time” worker, though between my three jobs this summer I pulled closer to 50, I do know a thing or two about how a workplace goes, and I can’t say I enjoy it very much, which is why I gave Chris’s book a read.

However, I started to notice how time works. Of course, giving up 40 hours or more a week is a hurt, especially if your passion in life is anything other than a cubicle or a grocery store; however, I found that there is much more time involved than 40 hours in our “work week.” This unforeseen time difference adds up to much, which makes us more time crunched and stressed. Here are a few eye openers to make you rethink your current job, realize how much time you actually do spend doing what you do, and help you change it.

  1. Work preparation. The first major time commitment we noticed was what we will refer to as work preparation. This time varies by the individual, but it all adds up the same regardless. So what do we mean by this? Basically we mean how much time it takes you to get ready to go to work or whatever it is you do. Thinking critically, if it takes an hour more per day to “get ready” just to go to work, are you actually getting paid for that hour? Chances are that you’re not. So that’s an hour more a day for a whole week or roughly 5-7 hours a week. Isn’t that supposed to be overtime pay? Most likely, your morning or pre-work routine is not very productive either. If it is anything like mine, you cram in posts, cram in nasty foods, throw on clothes, shower, and whatever else it is you do is a rushing mess just to “get ready.” I have found this very problematic. To solve this pre-work rush, I have done two things: reduce work and reduce work. Yes, I said reduce work twice. First, reduce the amount of times you have to go to work; yes that means work less and have more time to do what you want, which then means less time “preparing” and wasting an additional hour. Secondly, reduce work meaning the time it takes you to prepare. Instead of stressing about what color tie to wear, why not take a walk before work or drink some coffee and meditate or read a book. Useful use of your minutes will help you squeeze in more “you” time, even if you have to do it before someone else’s time clock.
  2. Work commute. How many readers commute to work by some form of alternative or less-wasteful means? Do you ride a bike or moped? If not, consider it! I commute to work 90% of the time by either of those two methods now, and I don’t even live in a very “bike-friendly” community. But, wait a minute, didn’t you just tell us to take less time preparing for work? Yes, I did, and you may be thinking that I contradict myself a bit, which could be true. However, if you bike to work, you may take 5 extra minutes, but that will be 5 more minutes of movement you’ve gained for the day. 5 minutes worth of calories burned? I think its worth it. Or 5 times less gas burned? Still worth it. Work commuting may not be as easy to eliminate the amount of time, but you can get more out of your time these ways.
  3. Downtime. Lunch break, anyone? Downtime at work is a crucial ingredient to helping us manage our time. Whether it be jotting down a few words to a poem that you will write later on a napkin, or sending that extra email, or even just taking the stairs, all of our actions add up. Even if you are at a job that you despise going to, you can still make a conscious effort to make the best of the time that you are there. Use these opportunities to gain as much as you can, even if you are hating it.

When we begin to notice that our time is limited, this is when we will use it most efficiently. So if you are like us, and have a time crunch and time commitments that you despise, change your life by changing your actions and you will notice how you will use your time more wisely to benefit your life. With this first step, you will begin to control your life, which will most likely lead to a freeing some day in which you will no longer have to go to this job or place you hate. Stick to the path and success and joy will follow.

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Have a Problem? Take a Walk!

Ah, a brisk walk or run as the sun is near setting along a forest pathway, my eyes dead set on the path, my feet crunching on forest foliage, and my mind as clear (or probably nearly clearer) than the state forest lake to my right hand side.  This small setting was my run yesterday, and, though I struggled to see at times, I realized that I almost did not need sight as I could feel with my feet and remember in my head where to go. It is with this attitude that I discovered something. Before running I had a few problems to attend to; however, after I finished, I had no problems.

Most of the problems we encounter in life are because of society being the way it is: overly complicated lives, lack of connection to nature, too much materialism, and the list continues.  We soon find out that most of the problems, if not all of them in life, are actually very small, or composed of a bunch of very small problems. After knowing this, we have discovered one way to reach out and destroy your problems: go for a walk! Literally speaking, going for a walk, jog, bike, and whatever else moves you will help to eliminate your problems and this is how.

  1. Increase blood flow. As your heart rate gradually picks up, your spirits will soon join. Most of the muscles in your body from the gracilis to the masseter want to move, and when they begin to, they will be relieved for it. As your muscles feel better, you will begin to feel better.
  2. Increased brain power. Increased blood flow will stimulate more red blood cells and oxygen to the brain, which will begin to start becoming a powerhouse. With new found blood flow, thoughts will begin to flow through your mind, which is an almost proven fact that increased blood flow causes increased brain function. More thoughts equals less bad thoughts usually, especially when you get to the next point.
  3. Increased strain. Though the strain can be from severe to almost none at all, a bit of stress will relentlessly be put on your body, which will almost instantly move your thoughts from negative to positive. Besides, if the lactic acid builds up in your thighs, you might have something else to worry about than whether or not you want chicken or turkey for supper :P.
  4. Increased focus. This increased strain may also cause one’s body to begin to walk in a steady, organized fashion, which then helps you to begin to focus on your body and how it is moving. This helps you to keep a steady, repetitious–though not boring!–pace. Also, your breathing may deepen or increase with the new strain and you can begin to focus on bringing in each separate breath deeply and fully, which deepens your focus on otherworldly objects and not your small problems.
  5. Increased self-awareness. As your walk continues, you will begin to bring in sites and sounds and miracles that should undoubtedly turn your attention or at least divert it momentarily. These tiny miracles of nature and life will change the course of your thoughts from negative to positive.
  6. Increased self-esteem. Not only does your mind change during the activity, but it also changes after it. When you are finished you will most likely feel relieved and refreshed, all of which are a boost to your self-esteem. In fact, you may have forgotten your problems altogether.
  7. Increased self. The only thing that can be lost and not gained from a walk or jog is body fat, which isn’t really needed anyway. So why not just take a walk?

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A Few Short Ways to Sleep With Zen

A crucial part of nervous system and body function recovery, sleep provides us with essential downtime to help recover, replenish, and even refuel us for the coming day. Though you may not feel you are “moving” while sleeping, your body and mind certainly do, which is why it is a crucial step in assisting our daily movement. The list below contains a few short notes on how to achieve more zen in your sleep and sleep more fully.

  • Clear distractions. While this may seem obvious, a few of the objects and sounds and persons distracting you may not. Do you sleep with too many pillows? That can be a distraction. How about a fan? Also possible, yet could be beneficial. Are there any other objects that make for an eye sore, an ear sore, or a mind sore? If so make sure to clear them. The less “stuff” you have around you, the more likely you are to sleep in zen.
  • Find comfort and rhythm. Begin by sleeping and waking at the same time daily, if possible. I try to accomplish this and is perhaps the hardest part of zen sleeping. Also, find a comfortable sleeping spot. Arrange your bed the same way daily, and attain the same routine before bed daily, which I suggest should include reading. Also, experts have mentioned to use the bed only for sleeping. If you are used to eating and watching TV and whatnot in your bed, change those activities–or wipe them out completely–from the location of your bed.
  • Breathe. Breathing and controlled breathing are ideal ways to initiate sleep. Almost meditative, one begins to feel refreshed but also relaxed. Meditate a few short minutes after reading and before bed to clear your mind completely.

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What Fitness Is (And Should Be)

For most immediate people in my life, the mere mention of fitness brings about shrieks and shrills. This is, without a doubt, the utmost worst thing that can happen in life because fitness and moving physically is an essential. People wonder why we are overweight, have type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and so on, most of which is most likely linked to being sedentary, especially over the course of a long time. I could go on and on about why it is bad, but here’s a short list of what fitness is and should be for everyone.

1, Full. Fitness is full of many things: movement, breathing, rejuvenating, enhancing, and even sweating. If your fitness is not full, it will not be very beneficial. To make your fitness full, always warm up and cool down. In addition, set goals and follow through with them, although sometimes we like to slack, which is human. To truly make your fitness full, add the rest of the elements to follow.

2. Functional. To train for a marathon, you must run. To make your exercise functional, do one of two things: choose a specific goal or choose no goal (a generalist goal). By choosing a goal, you can set standards by which to train, diet, and strive toward. In my collegiate career, my goal was to run a faster 400m dash, so I trained to make this possible most of the year. Other parts of the year, I followed a no goal routine where I just was doing non-specific fitness for the fun of it. This made me more of a generalist, which is not bad. Functionality also refers to your exercises, which should be performed well at all times. The more you slack, the more you will end up hurting or getting injured in the end. The little acts of stretching, warm ups, and dieting really do make a difference. The decision is up to you, but exercise should be functional.

3. Fortifying. Fitness should not only fortify the physical body into rejuvenation but also the mental and spiritual bodies. Any movement is better than no movement, and your body requires and begs for all types of movement. Once you begin to conquer this fortifying trait, you will begin to not only love exercise but hope for more.

4. Freeing. Fitness that is freeing is the best kind. Going for a long slow run with no goal in mind, swimming however many laps you can stand, or doing push ups until failure, whatever the goal is, fitness should have elements of freeing. Personally, I have gotten all wrapped up in how many sets and reps and distances and times that I have to attain. Sometimes this is very needed and other times it is not. When your fitness frees you, you will begin to feel fortified.

5. Fun. Above all, exercise should be fun. Laughs and smiles are just as important as sweat and hard breaths. When playing basketball with friends, laugh a little, make jokes, and make it fun for everyone. If your fitness is not fun, then you are doing something wrong. Fitness should be fun and beneficial to you, in addition to the other points.

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4 Productive Ways to Stay Put and Still Move

When it comes to moving physically, it can take a while to rack up the 10,000 required steps per day. While I am constantly on the move, I find times to stay put. Here is a small list of ways to stay put while still moving, which you may not even realize is still happening.

  • Meditation. As we calm ourselves and our minds and they begin to clear, we begin to stay still and move in a way deeper than we realize. Daily meditation in addition to exercise are actually some of the proven ways to relieve stress and build brain power. Combining the two daily can add up to tremendous benefits for our health and body. Meditation is easy and reaps all of these great benefits; it is also one of the few times it is okay to remain still.
  • Reading. Daily reading has not only been linked to overall health but also increasing brainpower, similar to meditation. Since they’re both active mental processes–unlike staring blankly at a TV screen–they help improve intelligence and mental health. Reading inspires us, teaches us, and helps us explore new and different worlds, which is why it is one of the best ways to remain moving by staying still.
  • Writing. Most good readers are also good writers and vice versa. Although writing is not as essential and beneficial to all as reading is, it also is a good way to remain moving while staying still.
  • Sleeping. Interestingly enough, sleeping is even a more active mental process than staring at a TV screen. While it may not appear as beneficial or “productive” at first, sleeping is actually the key ingredient that helps foster the others. Sleeping helps recover the mind and the body, restores us to a vital position, and helps us to relax and relieve stress, which is why it is a good way to move while remaining still.

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