Beauty May Be Skin Deep, But Ugly Is To The Bone…

On Beauty

Nothing means more to me than beauty.  Nothing, nothing, is without beauty; skin, circumstance, sound, disease, time, ritual, opportunity, adaptation, emotion, structure, and on and on.  Beauty within, beauty around, beauty because of, and beauty despite – beauty is the reason I stick around.  There is beauty is waiting to be discovered in every corner of every moment.

Some beauty advertises itself – the beauty of steam rising from a warm road on a cold morning.  Other beauty exists anonymously – the beauty of a simple mathematical equation solving a more complex problem.  Other beauty still, hides deep in places where it must be sought – as in a fist across a jaw and the subsequent blood which spatters in an asymmetrical pattern on the wall.  There is beauty in the playing of a game, in an exchange of laughter between friends, in the sound of an appliance humming, and even in the death of a loved one.

Alfred Williams Goes Diving

Alfred Williams was a standout defensive end at The University Of Colorado.  He would eventually play professionally for The Denver Broncos.  During one particular season in the late 90’s, Williams played at his usual high level, but well into the season he had failed to have a single quarterback sack – which was kind of in his job description.  It might have been 12 or 13 games into the season when Williams got his first sack – also causing a fumble.  Williams recovered the fumble himself, took it down field as fast as a 300-pound man could, and from two yards out of the end zone, he leaped into the air, stretched his body out, and extended the ball over the goal line for a touchdown.

Here’s the punch-line:  There was not a single player from the opposing team anywhere near him.  He could have moon-walked into the end zone stopping to pull weeds along the way, but he leaped – an expression of joy, and an act of beauty.  There he was, mid-air… this man who would have played that game on a field of broken glass and carpet tacks, for a dollar, doing what he most loved to do, for the fans who came to see him do it.

One of my favorite Broncos — ever!

So as the friends I watched the game with screamed, stood up, and pushed their beer mugs into one another, I just sat back in my chair, swallowed hard, and tried not to show my tears – beauty in the smile of a man and his love of the game.

Beau-tor And The Snow Dog

The band Rush, has played together for nearly forty years.  The band’s three members have known each other since they were kids.  Seven years ago a documentary film, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, was produced.  I watch this film often.

Something happens every time I watch that movie – I get lost in it.  Not lost in the music, which at times can be ornate and beautiful.  Nor do I get lost in pictures and old video footage of them playing back in the 70’s, which can be reflectively beautiful.  I just get drawn into the beauty of the story of Rush as an organism.

Beauty in relationships; The guys from Rush offer a great example…

Three men, starting as boys, relentlessly committed to each other, and to a genre of music largely ignored, belittled, or unaccepted by the masses, and the obstacles they steered through.  Survivors of profound tragedy, still close friends, family men, leaders in their community, and nearly 40 years in, they still perform at a level so high it should embarrass The Who and The Stones.

The story of Rush is the story what relationships should be – a story of beauty.

Sophie Rotten

Trudy and I were married for 17 years, though we have not been since 2000.  When we spoke on the phone several weeks ago, I could hear a wavering in her voice and knew something was wrong.  She explained that Sophie, a small dog that belonged to her and our daughter was ill with an immune disease and in need of one or more blood transfusions.   I offered her my most sincere sympathy and assured her if there was anything I could do, I would.

Two days later, and after a seemingly successful blood transfusion, Trudy called and told me Sophie was weak and might not make it through the day.  I reassured her that Sophie would be just fine, but offered to come stay the afternoon with her for support.  She accepted my offer.

When I arrived, Sophie was missing all the life that had garnered her the nickname, Sophie Rotten.  She was warm, seemed tired, but in no apparent pain.  I sat down and held her on my lap for several hours, stroking her back gently and reassuring Trudy that all would be well.  Mid-day Sophie began a pattern of shallow breathing and though she still seemed to be in no pain, it was clear that she was not going to make it.

Sophie is smiling because she just ate a $600 pair of my eyeglasses 🙂

Trudy made the difficult decision to have Sophie put down.  Ten minutes later, we sat the in the Vet’s office waiting – both in tears.  As the Doctor left the room to get the drug he would use for the procedure, Sophie, still in my lap, and still being petted and loved by Trudy and I, passed away silently – beauty.

There was beauty in Sophie going naturally, in the hands of ones who loved her and not at the end of a needle.  There is beauty in the perspective I will forever carry, for having a life end in my hands.  I’m a selfish person living a very selfish life, and I don’t care for myself too much these days, but for one day I felt the beauty in being there for another – for Trudy when she felt she was not strong enough to go through it alone.  I did something right for a change, and there is so much beauty in doing the right thing…

Beauty Redux

Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.  Among the ugliest acts a human can perpetrate, is the denial or the ignorance of beauty.  If we’re not looking for it, or not listening, we will miss a majority of the beauty that exists all around us.  Seems like a great waste of our most precious resource.  But it’s there – it’s everywhere, and when one does look for it and listen for it, one can find beauty in anything – in everything, even in the words of a schlub like me.  Be well.  rc

Oh, and there this beautiful nugget from Townes Van Zandt.  Enjoy…

 

Thoughts On Beauty…

A tease for my upcoming column on beauty.  Below is an excerpt:

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Gap-Toothed Man

Alfred Williams was a standout defensive end at The University Of Colorado.  He would eventually play professionally for The Denver Broncos.  During one particular season Williams played at his usual high level, but well into the season he had failed to have a single quarterback sack – which was kind of in his job description. 

It might have been 12 or 13 games into the season when Williams got his first sack for that season – also causing a fumble.  Williams recovered the fumble himself, took it down field, as fast as a 300-pound man could, and from two yards out of the end zone, he leaped into the air, stretched his body out, and extended the ball over the goal line for a touchdown.

The gap-toothed mauler; once behind enemy lines in a flash, now behind the microphone...

Here’s the punch-line:  There was not a single player from the opposing team anywhere near him.  He could have moon-walked into the end zone, but he leaped and dove – an expression of outright joy and beauty.  There was this man, who would have played that game on a field of broken glass and carpet tacks, for a dollar, doing what he most loved to do, for the fans came to see him do it.

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Please check back next week and read how I use the thread of beauty to sew together football player Alfred Williams, the heavy metal band Rush, and the death of a family dog.  Should be fun.

Oh, and there is this from Cowboy Junkies, enjoy…

As Priorities Change…

Please enjoy Part III of my ongoing series on Life As  Fitness Trainer.  Check back next week for my thoughts on what to look for, and what NOT to look for in a fitness trainer.

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“Show me a man who has the same values at 50 that he had at 25, and I’ll show you a man who wasted 25 years of his life.”  Muhammad Ali.

Change; Often It Comes Seamlessly

It’s not that I got lazy; it’s just that I just quit caring…

.. .or that I quit caring so much.

I no longer look like an action-figure in sleeveless shirts as I did 5 years ago.  Still, I’m way ahead of the game for 49 years of age, and one can tell at a glance that I invest a good deal of time in exercise.  I had always thought though, that if I worked in, or owned a gym, I would remain in supreme shape for all my days – and that has always mattered to me.

I have reasoned that so long as some decent equipment was at hand; by way of proximity, availability, and my discipline, this would ensure my great physical conditioning – ongoing.  I never counted on “great physical conditioning” no longer mattering to me – or not as much.  It’s alright, dry your eyes – priorities change, that’s just the way it is. 

I still like to workout; weights, riding my bike, running, trail hiking, and I do all of these weekly, and often daily.  The intensity, however, and the effort I apply to my daily action is waning, as is the frequency and duration of such activities.  I’ve just become estranged from my go big or go home mentality.

Living In A Gym; Do What You Love For A Living And…

…Quit Loving It

I once reasoned that if I stick to what I love and what I know for my livelihood, I would live a blissful life and earn a good keep.  The truth is, I built my little gym for me, not for my clients.  It would soon become my sanctuary; a place where time stood still and where, by way of my very intense workouts done in private, I felt at peace with the world, if not always on top of it.  My gym and my workouts were literally my religion.  The problem is; I never left.

My sanctuary, my temple of me, for me, has also been my workplace.   Though I was not always exercising, I was in my sanctuary up to 12 hours per day.  What I once loved, would become constant and to begin to grow stale. 

Many can relate to how hard it is spending all day in the workplace, leave tired at the end of the day, and head to the gym for an evening workout.  It’s not always easy.  Now imagine, that you have spent all day working in your gym, surrounded by gym stuff, and at the end of the day, you don’t even get the privilege of leaving to go workout – I would be stuck at work to enjoy my play.  Motivation might be hard to conjure.  Within a few years the need to get away from work, which also meant getting out of my gym, meant… buying a gym membership, so I did.

And for several years I would leave my gym at the end of the day to workout in a fresh environment, and this worked – to a point.

You Are Who You Roll With

In the beginning of this incarnation of my business, many of my clients were serious adult athletes, want-to-be fitness models, young bodybuilders, and a few competitive prep-athletes.  Having always reasoned that I need to be in better shape than my clients, I took care of business and ensured that I was in better shape – always.

Slowly, my client-base changed, and that was for the better.  I began working with people who better appreciated the value of functional fitness; seniors, men and women who wish to be more active, weight-loss candidates, and weekend warrior athletes who who would rather not limp into work on Monday mornings.  As the collective condition of my clients lessened, so too did the overall condition of me – and I never saw it coming.  On a very subconscious level, I must have reasoned that I could get away with less.  On a very subconscious level, this would become my path.  This is not to say I quit exercising, I just felt less pressure to push hard – to go big or go home in every workout.

The Tao Of A Furious Heart-Rate And Burning Quads; Oh, There Isn’t One

So here I am, still in good physical shape, but not where I have been and where I know I could still be.  I work less at it, and it has become a lesser priority in my life.  I attempt daily to reconcile that disparity.

 I’m okay these days with having a small roll on my waist versus the tight abs of a couple years ago. I’m okay with using a bit of salad dressing and ketchup these days when for years I would never touch the stuff.  I’m okay with 30 minutes of strength training versus 60.  I’m ok with shorter, slower runs and bike rides.  I’m okay with all of that, and then really I’m not.   

I contemplate a promise I made to myself years ago, that in no area of my life would I ever allow myself to take a step backward; that time’s arrow points only ahead.  I know that I still have what it takes to get in the best shape of my life.  I know that I always feel better for having pushed workouts harder than the week before.  I know I can look and function better at 50 than I did at 40, and better at 60 than at 50, I know I know I know I know. 

I also know that we have been designed to get old, to breakdown, and to slowdown, and to have our priorities change.  I  know that the car with the most miles on it will likely go to the junk yard first.  I know I think way too much about all of this.  I know I know I know I know.  Be well.  rc

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Please check beck next week for Part IV of this series; Fitness Trainer, Be Better Than That.
 
Oh, and there is this from Cold Chisel; Bow River.  Enjoy…

Walking The Walk — At A Lesser Pace…

Here is a mid-week tease for my upcoming column, Part III of my ongoing series on life as a Fitness Trainer.  

This week’s column; Walking The Walk — At A Lesser Pace.  Please check back this Saturday, February 12 for the complete column,  In the mean time, below is an excerpt.

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“Show me a man who has the same values at 50 that he had at 25, and I’ll show you a man who has waisted 25 years of his life.”  Muhammad Ali.

Change; Often It Comes With An Anchor

“It’s not that I got lazy; it’s just that I just quit caring…

…or, that I quit caring so much about what once was my largest priority.

I am no longer supremely conditioned, or look like an action-figure in sleeveless shirts as I did 5 years ago.  Still, I’m way ahead of the game for 49 years of age, and one can tell at a glance that I invest a good deal of time in exercise.  I had always thought though, that if I worked in or owned a gym, I would remain in great shape for all my days – because that has always mattered to me. 

I have reasoned that so long as some decent equipment was at hand; by way of proximity, availability, and my discipline, these would combine to ensure my great physical conditioning – ongoing.  I never counted on supreme conditioning no longer mattering to me – or not so much.  It’s alright, dry your eyes, I’m not crying for you – priorities change, that’s just the way it is. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still like to workout; weights, riding my bike, running, trail hiking, and I do all of these weekly, and often daily.  The intensity, however, and the effort I apply to my daily action is waning, as is the frequency and duration of such activities.  I’ve just become estranged from my go big or go home mentality.”

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Please check back this Saturday for the completed column.  Oh, and there is this from the Hoodoo Gurus; What’s My Scene. Way better than the MTV video from the 80’s. This song remains a favorite.  Enjoy…