Between Son And Father…

Six years ago this moment, I was staring out the window on a flight from Philadelphia to Athens. I was enroute to visit my daughter who was winding up her time studying archaeology in Greece. My father had died just 20-hours prior.

While his body was being transferred from the industrial refrigerator which housed him, to the factory where they burn bodies and  subsequently place them into fancy bags so people can keep place on their mantel or carry the ashes about to be spread into forests or over the sea, I stared out the window of an Airbus A3000 for 13-hours. Mostly, I looked down into the distant ocean.  Eventually day turned into night and I begin looking upward into the darkness, to the stars, and thinking about my dad when I finally broke down .

That would be the last time I would have to  feel the guilt that comes with  having to choose between being a son or being a father. On that occasion, I chose father and I would do it again.

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But it haunts me, ongoing, that as I landed in Athens full of excitement and enthusiasm to explore Mykonos, 3000-year-old ruins, and Greek culture with my daughter, that my father lay cold, stiff, and waiting to be burned, bagged, and buried after a life largely unfulfilled.

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It stops me in my tracks daily
The unfinished business of a son

And each time I look in the mirror
I see his plans unfinished and his life undone

And if I am the continuation
Of those intentions that he left behind

I try hard not to disappoint him
But in my darkest hours I feel so blind

Yet I wake to another moment
Another chance to break new ground

And the daughter whose eyes are upon me now
Is still unsure about her dad some how

But tomorrow holds more promise
And I’ll hope that I rise above

Fueled by fire and passion
And with the guiding light of my father’s love…

Jhciacb

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If you’re not already a subscriber, please scroll up and take a moment to do so. And please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when you push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Dad’s favorite, the great Herb Alpert.  Enjoy…!

Bombs away…

I first wrote this back in March for my Contemplative Fitness Facebook page.  It’s been a heavy week of bombing here at Camp Pendleton, not far from my back door.  I absolutely support these activities, though I always hope the exercises of war will only be played out when necessary, and hopefully not at all. 

When I begin to feel these concussions though, as I have been feeling them this past week, I get reflective, and concerned…

Bombs away…

When I was young I read the following sentence by Bill Dobbins in an article published in Muscle Builder And Power magazine:

“Watching Frank Zane train, his concentration is so severe that one gets the impression a bomb could go off in the gym, and Zane would neither let go the bar, nor lose his concentration.”

As a 15 year old, that statement left an impression on me that would be both formative, and long-lasting in my approach to strength training.

I have always prided myself on my ability to maintain a high level of concentration during an exercise – even if bombs were to go off around me.

Funny, now they actually do.

I live not far from the back gate of The Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. The explosions I hear daily can be so concussive that my windows can rattle, the mirrors shake, and occasionally the pictures on my walls tilt to one side.

When this happens during a workout I never miss a beat. I don’t lose focus. I will continue until my set is complete. My concentration is so severe that people in China can feel my intensity.

Despite this, my mind does drift some when I hear, and feel the bombs.

As I hear the explosions in the distance, and feel my walls rattle, I can’t help but think about the Marines firing those weapons – of where they have been, what they have seen, and if they will use explosives again in a genuine scenario.

On the days when the bomb’s concussions are as severe as my own concentration, and make the walls shake, my mind drifts even further in-between sets.

I wonder; what must it feel like to be a mindful fitness enthusiast, innocently working out in a gym in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, or anywhere else, and feel bombs exploding during the workout.
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Would a person wonder, while doing arm curls, is their mother ok…? Are their friends ok…? Will they be ok…?

I wonder how quickly someone living exact that scenario might let go the bar, duck, and cover, biceps be damned.

Yes, I can hear a bomb go off and my lat-pulldowns will continue until the very last rep is completed. In-between sets though, my mind does wander… rc

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from the North Mississippi All Stars.  Enjoy…