Choices? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Choices!

I was watching a PBS show one day and saw the host mining gems in Sri Lanka. Since I didn’t believe in the diamond industry, I nonchalantly asked my girlfriend at the time if she wanted to go there to mine for an engagement gem. We booked flights for a trip 3 months away. Fast-forward to departure day and we were no longer together (don’t worry, we occasionally keep in touch and I still think she’s a rock star). I still went. Travel is probably my number 1 passion.

Haggling over gems in Sri Lanka

These are photos are from my trip. I went out to the gem mines to see if they would allow me to go underground. Unfortunately, the rains had made it too dangerous to go below. But I still got to see the process and haggle for stones for 8 HOURS! It was one of the most enriching trips of my life. At the time, I travelled to “find myself.” Now, I just travel and I AM myself- all the good, all the bad and most importantly, what’s yet to come. Where for the first 42 years of my life, I didn’t understand JUST how much power I had over my own destiny, I now completely understand.

Life is just a series of choices we make. As long as our intent is good, it’s always the right decision. How it plays out can’t be determined in the moment, or even months later. So there’s no such thing as a good or a bad choice. It’s just choice. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have REGRETS. I have lots. I have lots of regrets for the choices I made or the words I used when my intent wasn’t good. I have regrets about the first 40 plus years of my life and how selfish I was. I hurt people. But I also know that if I didn’t go through THAT part of my life, I wouldn’t have come to this EXACT moment, where I am happy most of the time. I still speak out of emotion and ego. I can say hurtful things. I’m still learning.

Mining Gems in Sri Lanka

For me, time is the most important commodity I have and it shrinks daily. So I NOW speak plainly, show my frustrations easily, and have those difficult conversations with people that everyone needs to have in life with at least one person, freely. I’m not afraid to show who I am because I’m not going to be loved by everybody. So it doesn’t matter. I’m just me. And I want to cultivate that- a community that is accepting of themselves and everyone else. We all have fucked up and will continue to do so. That wont change. We make mistakes. We’re human. But if we surround ourselves by similarly intent-ed people, the mistakes happen less often. I don’t know about you, but I need help too.

What Shitting All Over The Himalayas Taught Me…

This pic was taken at the height of one of my Ulcerative Colitis flairs in 2010, while I was still working as a FF/Medic 🚒🚑. Up to that point, I was sitting on the toilet up to 100x/daily, bleeding ulcers and all 🙁. I was squeezing a medicine bottle up my ass every night before bed, hoping it wouldn’t leak too much overnight. Every time I ate, I was in immediate intense pain and bled. I was smoking a cigarette every morning and every night to ease symptoms (look it up). UC is a funny disease if it isn’t happening to you. I don’t blame you for laughing 🤷🏻‍♂️.
 
“Battling through Ulcerative Colitis”
I’m absolutely positive that I was very hard to be around 👺. Luckily, I had a VERY patient and understanding girlfriend at the time 🙏🏽😔. I was grateful for that. But I also do remember that I kept fighting. I was sick of being sick. I barely took any time off of work, maybe a shift here, a shift there.
 
 
 
I secured 29 days of leave and decided to do a trek in Nepal 🏔. Everest Base Camp was too long and probably too arduous for me. So I chose one of the smaller treks and started training 💪🏽. I decided that I wouldn’t use a porter and that I would lug 60lbs of equipment the entire 10 days (for the trek). That was stupid. Let’s just say that I lasted 3 days, didn’t see shit because my head was down the entire time 😬.
 
What led me to do that, I have no idea. Looking back, I was pissed. I was pissed that this damn disease was controlling my life. My entire existence was based on where clean, plentiful bathrooms were. Ya’ll don’t understand- it happens in an instant. Of course I shit my pants many a times. The embarrassment, pain and fear DICTATED my life. I had enough.
 
I noticed my symptoms decreased while in Nepal 👏🏽. My stress levels were down. Up to that point, I was at the height of working 100-120 hrs/week, still (over)training and running 2 careers. Of course, I still shit all over the Himalayas 💩. But I felt better. My old life was on pause.
 
My default is to fight. No matter how long I’ve been knocked down, I eventually will myself back up, get pissed, and battle. Sometimes it’s graceful, sometimes an epic fail. But I still fight. I love that about myself. You win some, you lose some, but you live- you live to fight another day (movie anyone?).
 
It’s not a special talent by any means. Everyone has access to it. It just takes practice. You don’t have to fight huge battles to get started. Willing yourself to get up when all you want to do is curl up and hide is a FIGHT. But you can start right there. Change DOESN’T have to be dramatic and world changing right away. Throw that garbage out. Small steps work too. If you’re going through something, know that someone else in your EXACT circumstances has BATTLED and WON. I want that for you too. Fight on my friends. You’re stronger than you think. If you don’t believe it, lean on me until you do 🙏🏽. I want you to win 👊🏽.
 
 
 
By the way, I BEAT this “incurable” disease 👊🏽😎.

One Thing You Need For Mobility….AND Happiness

You NEED more rotation in your lives. I mean seriously, your physical future health depends on it. These aren’t fear tactics I’m sprouting. Most of you are stuck in one or two planes of motion. We move in 3 dimensions. Do the math.
So what happens if you keep doing what you’re doing without adding training and movement? How about this- what happens in 10 years? 20?! 30?!! Do you care? Maybe it’s too far away. But 30 years from now, you will wish you took that question more seriously.
I see it happening right now. My clients are getting younger and younger with issues only seen in the senior adult population. I’ll yell it from the tops of the trees. Many will suffer a very painful and slow decline. It doesn’t have to be like that. THAT doesn’t have to be the outcome.
You know, there are actually people out there that decide when it’s “time”- not out of pain, or sorrow, but fulfillment. I know I can’t control most things, but I know that I CAN control, to a large extent, HOW I grow old. I choose to make movement medicine for myself and my clients. I choose to do my best to practice empathy and compassion. I choose to take measures to decrease my overall stress. I choose to feed my body mostly nutritious things, while adding other things in limited quantities because I enjoy them 👉🏽🍕🍔🌭🍰🍫🎂🍩🍪🥂🍷🍻😛.
There are things within your control, decisions that can be made, paths that can be taken to get to wherever you want to go. You simply have some work to do on a regular basis. How did you get good at the thing(s) you HAD to do, or the thing(s) that you love? Practice Practice Practice….