The Body As Our Paycheck…

I just didn’t feel like writing this week — so I didn’t.  It’s my blog and I enjoy that power.  That said, please enjoy this one from the past.  Maybe something new next week, we shall see…

________________________________________________________________________________

  I have a simple cure for the problem of not having something we want; quit wanting it. 

 Or this…

 We can obtain just about any want we want these days, and do so with ease in our vast and hypnotic retail world.  We can download the music we want – instantaneously, and while sipping coffee and wearing a bathrobe.  If our credit is good, we can avoid the plaid-pants guy and purchase the car we want online, and in a matter of minutes.  We can pick up the bottle of wine we want from the grocery on the way home from work.  Want new lawn chairs?  We can get them at the grocery when we purchase our wine. We can buy electronics, designer pets, crap for our yards, art, and entertainment, and in this era of want-driven unnecessary consumption, we can purchase our wants quickly, and usually without straying too far from home.

 Not to suggest that we don’t first work hard – often very hard, that we have ample money to fulfill our wants.  We do work hard for our paychecks.  As hard workers though, we have evolved to feel that we deserve our wants – that wanting itself, is self-evident and God given.  After all, what good is working hard if we’re not also wanting hard?  Once that hard earned money is in hand, we can immediately go want hunting for any want we want.  Any want but an improved body. 

 For the balance of this article, the improved body I refer to is not about such important things as balance, flexibility, stamina, and strength –the things that matter most in human physicality.  In this instance, the improved body I write of is just another want;  the smokin’ hot body of our  youth.  Or more likely, of someone else’s youth.

 Ask Oprah.  She has lots of money – shitloads, and lots of wants too, which I’m sure she fulfills easily.  Make no mistake, Oprah has worked hard, very hard, and has earned her money, and most of her wants.  Among her greatest wants, whether she admits it or not, Oprah wants to look smokin’ hot.  According to TV Guide, Oprah has dedicated more on-air hours to fitness and food related topics than all other topics combined – and often aided by some of the world’s leading experts in these matters.  Despite this, Oprah doesn’t look like a skinny teenager, because skinny teenager can’t be bought, it must be earned with hard work – just like her paychecks.

 Our bodies, just like the money we earn to  buy all of our wants, also has to be earned – it has to be earned.  We put forth great effort to garner our monthly paychecks, often performing tasks which we would rather not do, in order to get that cash reward.  We often hate who we work for, dislike our work surroundings, and dread the arrival to work each day as though all that awaited us at our cubicle was a daily gallbladder removal –without the benefit of anesthetic.  Because we want, we show up to work, subject ourselves to all we don’t want, so we can fulfill all we do want.

 In body-want, we must also work hard in order that we receive that paycheck – payment in the form an improved aesthetic.  Still, most fail in achieving this want.  I will suggest that if $200 were awarded to us after each (hard) workout, the nation would workout hard, and workout regularly.  Offer us each another $200 for every healthy meal eaten – we would eat healthy, and consistently.  Another $200 still, for every sugary treat passed upon?  We would surely pass on the treats. 

 If we truly had this sort of compensation system for our bodies, we would be a nation of smokin’ hot people – with pockets full of cash.  Though most of us may want to be, we are certainly not a nation of smokin’ hot people.  So why is it that we are willing to work so hard for our money-wants but not our body-wants?  Why are we willing to endure 40+ hours weekly, doing that which we loathe, and put ourselves through so much, that we may buy so many needless things we want?  Why too, do we fall short when it comes to working for our own bodies, when an investment of just 3-5 hours per week is all that is needed – and a few good meals daily?

 I’ll tell you why; because changing the landscape of the human body is among the hardest endeavors we dare to want.  To succeed in changing the body will take a level of effort, discipline, and consistency that our bosses at work would appreciate, and expect from us.  Never, would we let them down.  I call bullshit on us America.  By not earning what we want from our bodies, we are letting ourselves down.

 If we want that improved body, in the same way we want the money to buy that new coat, that new flat panel TV, or that purse-puppy we just have to have, we will have to earn it just like we earned all else we want and (seem to) enjoy.  If we want that new body, today is the day we should submit our employment application – to ourselves.  Just remember though, a smokin’ hot body is only a want, and in the scope of our lives, a smokin’ hot body can only offer as much meaning as an i-pod, a Lexus, or a 3-pound hand-held terrier.

 I have a simple cure for the problem of not having something we want.  We should quit wanting it, or at least be prepared to earn it.  Be well.  rc

He’s Not Fat…

 

Generally I don’t do the guest post thing because, when it comes to the philosophy behind the fitness, I think my opinion matters more than anyone else’s.  That’s true by the way. 

That said, my tease for an upcoming column on male body image is this heart-felt and thought provoking post from a young man who I have never met – but a man I can relate to quite well. 

I will have my next column up Friday, October 29th. In the mean time, there is this from Matt:

 ____________________________________________________________________________________

I’m not FAT…

How many of us have struggled with their weight at one point or another? I’m pretty confident in saying about 90% of the US population critiques the way their body looks no matter how “attractive” they may be. We live in a time it’s become more important to get your muscles big,stomachs flat and our skin as brown as possible. Personally, I find this a little disturbing. We quote “The Situation” more than Voltair, Plato, Davinci, Einstein or any other of our worlds incredible minds. There’s an infinite amount of information at our fingertips and yet as a whole society it seems as though we are more ignorant than ever, so whats the excuse? Obesity is a serious issue within our country and it is NOT because we are all lazy. There are so many other factors that play into this epidemic that it is wrong to put all the blame on people who fight this daily battle, and putting us down is not right or ok. I AM NOT FAT!           

 

All my life I’ve heard that stupid word. Fatty,fatass, fat fuck and every other possible combination of the word FAT. Look up FAT in the dictionary and you certainly will not see my picture or anyone elses for that matter. Fat is tissue, I do HAVE too much fat on my body but that is NOT who or what I am. I struggle with this on a daily basis. Avoiding contact with mirrors, tugging at my clothes and then being mad at myself for even feeling that way. I’m a MAN I shouldnt care and be confident regardless. It’s a little tough to do that when all I see are images of how I SHOULD look and what girls look for. Kinda sad right? I’m a good person, I’m smart,funny, caring, sweet, passionate and the list could go on and on about my good personality traits (please, I’m not being arrogant) but in my mind the only thing I can focus on is how I lack in the physical appearence part of who I am. There is so much turmoil within me that sometimes I just wish I could turn my brain off for a bit. I’ve been on both sides of this spectrum and I really dont know where to go from here…

Today, I weigh between 263-268 depending on the time of day. I’ve made a pact with a very important person in my life to lose 15 lbs by Halloween while she loses 10. I’ve made the personal decision to do this again. I’ve been down this road before a few years ago. I weigh 330+ and one morning just made the choice to change my life. over the next year and a half to 2 years I lost 117 lbs. Girls were flocking to me because I was ripped and cocky. I got laid a lot (sorry ma), had lots of dates, and girls always calling me…but I hated who I had to be to get that attention. I LOVED working out for hours and twice a day sometimes. I was addicted to eating right and scultping my body, but missed being the “nice guy”. Then I met Jenn. She is my most recent Ex gf and probably the one who saved me from being just ANOTHER guy. She reminded me what was important inlife and it wasnt how I looked, it was Family. Friends,cousins, or even strangers on the street can become your family and make you feel accepted. And for this I am so thankful to her. This lesson came at the loss of my hard work. I regained half of what I lost over our relationship partly because of her as well. I hate puting blame on others for things that I ultimately control, but it is what it is. She made me feel guilty for going to the gym, eating healthy when she wasn’t and then when I did gain weight she made little comments about it. She isnt a bad person and none of this was with malitious intent, she has her own personal demons she was dealing with and I have no ill feelings toward her. In fact I still love her very very much. We both realized we had things within ourselves that we needed to work on before we could truly make each other happy so we have avoided trying again, but I digress. She gave me the gift of Fatherhood. Although it was only for 18 months, I grew to love her son as if he were my own. He was my motivation for everything, but she took him from me with her own selfish actions. That love for him had awoken a new part of me I didnt even know existed and has forever changed me.

Now, I’m afraid to get lost in the Gym again. I’m afraid to lose the weight and get my body back to where I had it because I dont want to lose who I am again..I try to talk to my friends about all of this but none of them really understand because they’ve never been the fat kid. So where I go from here? I’m tired of being FAT. I can see it in peoples eyes, the lack of attention I get paid or even invites from my friends to party. My name is Matt and I deserve to be treated better. I also deserve to FEEL better about myself. Unfortunetly, this is the hardest part because it isnt exactly something I can do alone. I’m not good at asking for help either. It’s Go time and I am going to get back into the shape I used to be. Not for attention, not because society says I should, but because it makes ME happy. If anyone reads this or decides to follow my blog I will be posting more often and I ask of you PLEASE help me along my journey.

___________________________________________________________________________________________
I will be back Friday, October 29th with my own thoughts on body image.  Please check back then.
 
Oh, and there is this from Canada’s, Red Umbrella.  My daughter introduced me to them several years ago, and I can not say enough good things about this band and their lyrics.  Red Umbrella…
 

Gratatouille…

On The Front Side

Gratitude; to know it on any level is to first nod to the miracle of overcoming the greatest of odds…

The odds of me ever being born were stacked astronomically against me.  That 14-billion years ago some particles would somehow form from nothing, join with other particles colliding and making more particles still, and that a proportionately small cluster of those particles would work themselves, and rework themselves until they eventually became me is beyond my comprehension.  That said, it is well within my appreciation.  I appreciate being here – gratitude.  And really, gratitude is just a formal name for appreciation.

Sunday morning near Coos Bay, OR

On The Good Side

Gratitude in the name of wonder is easy.  Gratitude for success is simple.  Gratitude for a moment, a smile, a hand, a gift, a view, even a much needed dollar comes with no effort.  Of course this kind of gratitude is really more directed at the self, which is why it’s so easy – it’s easy to be grateful when good things happen.  I suggest most experience this type of gratitude daily, but are often too quick to shed it without savoring it, for the ease at which it came.

Saturday, 20 miles north of Eureka, CA

On The Hard Side

It’s a hard life; we struggle, we suffer, and we experience loss.  And though it may be hard to associate gratitude with any of these, it’s an exercise worthy of the attempt.  To look any negative circumstance and embrace it rather than flinch is a part of gratitude.  There should be consideration for the lessons which accompany a negative circumstance.  To see beyond a bad circumstance, or to just use one in comparison, applying context to a more positive circumstance, is also a form of gratitude.  Of course that kind of gratitude is also directed at the self, but it’s more earned.

Sunday, Central Oregon Coast

On The Outside

There is one other kind of gratitude – the most important kind; offered gratitude.  Offered gratitude is the type of gratitude which gets quickly lost behind the thick walls of agenda which we so easily build to insulate ourselves with in this busy and modern world.  This would be the gratitude we demonstrate for others; that they might know we appreciate them, their actions, and how they have enhanced our lives.

It is the gratitude of offering, of listening, and of being there for another when you would rather be somewhere else.  It’s the gratitude of selflessness, of re-prioritizing, and of making time on behalf of another.

Gratitude feels best, not when it gets breathed in, but when it is blown into the sails of others, that the vehicle of their journey has more power.

Driftwood near Newport, OR. Falcor The Luck Dragon…?

On The Flipside

On this day, among other things, I want to express my gratitude to anyone reading this.  I have gratitude for those around me who know me, and like me anyway.  Mostly today, I am as grateful for my pain as I am for my wealth so that, in the words of Bob Dylan,

“I can know if I’m really real”

…and that can’t be done without gratitude for pain.  Be well.  rc

Hipster Dog outside Voo Doo Donuts, Portland, OR

Thoughts On Gratitude…

A different kind of tease for the week. ..

 I have been asked by Ashley at www.nourishing-the-soul.com to participate in an interblogg experiment, and write about the word Gratitude.  This experiment is called Self-Discovery, Word by Word.

I am headed to the Northwest for a few days of empty-head time and will not be posting a column this week.  I will post my column on Gratitude Friday, October 15.  Please check  back then.  In the mean time, here is an excerpt:

“Gratitude; to know it on any level is to first nod to the miracle of overcoming the greatest of odds…

The odds of me ever being born were stacked astronomically against me.  That 14-billion years ago, some particles would form from nothing, collide with other particles, forming more particles still and that a proportionately small cluster of those particles would be worked and reworked until they eventually became me is beyond my comprehension.  That said, it is well within my appreciation.  I appreciate being here – gratitude.  And really, gratitude is just a formal name for appreciation.”

Please check back Friday the 15 for the completed column.

Oh, and there is this from Trixie Whitley, daughter of the legendary Chris Whitley.  The acorn did not fall far…

Where there is a Buckminster, there is a way…

Sitting On The Fence

I go back and forth on whether any of this matters – whether we should be concerned with what we call wellness or fitness in the modern era.  Still, my looks as well as my abilities are central in my life.  Appearance and ability seem to be central in the lives of most others, whether they strive to nurture those ambitions, or knowingly suffocate them.  In the scope of life’s undiscovered purpose though, I often believe that fitness and wellness are meaningless. 

I can make an argument that the concepts of wellness and fitness are agenda-ridden farces. I would argue successfully that if we could do any better than the current obesity epidemic, and declining health of our masses, we would.  Though much well intended research and effort exists in the fields of what we call wellness and fitness, the facts remain that obesity is on the rise, foods are more highly processed than ever, and the health and abilities of Americans, on average, are on the decline.  It’s just where we are – it’s just the best we can do.

Ready, Willing, And Unable

I could make the argument above, but I don’t want to – not today anyway. 

I just had my favorite meal for lunch; a very raw and very crisp Greek salad at a local café.  I enjoy this ritual so much; ordering it, watching it be made, taking in the aesthetic as it is placed on the counter before me, and then slowly enjoying it in the company of a waitress who stares relentlessly at my arms.  I always walk away from this experience feeling emotionally fulfilled.

And of those around me today, eating their burgers, pot pies, and sauce drenched entrees while I ate my crisp veggies, chicken, and kalamata olives, I just accepted that, as a whole, it’s the best we can do…

… and then came time to pay my check at the cash register.  I never have a problem with this; I take out my wallet, I hand the clerk my card along with the check, I sign a little piece of paper, and walk away.  Not so much for the man in front of me – he struggled to pay his bill, and it made me sad.

Oh, he had money; that was not the issue.  The larger issue was that he was unable to retrieve his money.  The 100 or so extra pounds carried on and near his waist, and the poor physicality which that fostered, rendered him unable to retrieve is wallet from his hip pocket.  So he looked back and asked me if I would take his wallet out of his pocket for him.  I trembled.  Not that I was afraid to assist him, but because I thought,

This is the best we can do…?”

Sometimes You Just Know

I just know it’s too late for this man.  The damage is done, and I would bet all twelve of my senses that he will never lose a pound, never give up the pot-pies, and will struggle again someday soon to get his wallet from his pocket.  How many people in America, I wondered, are in this man’s shoes?  Is this our national destiny?  Is this really the best we can do?

And Sometimes Moments Change You

I am no longer on the fence with this issue.  I now accept that the future of America’s physicality must be changed.  However, I no longer believe that change will be built on the success of a 350-pound man in a rural café ordering a salad rather than a pot-pie.  Nor will our future be built on the success of a middle-aged mom who wants to lose her bat-wing arms. 

The future might be built by a volunteer army; men and women who choose to invest time helping children help themselves.  Children are the future, not obese grown-ups who missed their chance.

The Government Stole Fitness, I‘m Stealing Back

In the coming weeks I be will trading in some more of my blogging, commenting, and Facebooking time with the like-minded people who help keep me motivated.  Rather, I will invest that time attempting to connect with people who are not fitness minded at all, nor motivated – the Dorito generation.

A mindful friend and I believe that, with the right plan, we might be able to help the future of American physicality.  Together, he and I are going to attempt to take fitness back to the kids.  Since kids don’t read fitness blogs this will need to be accomplished with face-time.  I am in the early stages of establishing a curriculum and protocol that will enable this process at my local level.  If successful, I will attempt to grow it. 

If You Like What The Government Does…

It is the intent of my friend and I to outsource fitness away from the government, and back into the lives of children in need in much the same way as the President’s Council On Physical Fitness did back in the 60s and 70s – before it got squashed by agenda and political bureaucracy. 

Our vehicle for this endeavor will be The Buckminster Fuller challenge 2011.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks…  Be well.  rc

Once my framework and business plan are in place and ready to be implemented, I will be seeking volunteers to implement sister programs in other regions.  If you have an interest in, and are SERIOUS about supporting this project, please contact me at emergefit@gmail.com  

I will ask this one time, to please paste the link to this column into your Facebook page today.  I appreciate your support.  Let the process begin…