Category Archives: Phoenix

Phoenix 1.4 Resolution – I Want To Handstand

handstand on beachI was knee deep in a rant that Sam, in true “coach like” fashion, seemed determined to finish. Although patient, I was beginning to wonder when he’d get back to training because I failed to see where he was going with all this.

But he kept going… “In the simple and uncluttered minds of children we can see truth and purpose. They know what they want and don’t let calculations of the odds sway their determination. Their mind is undivided and their eyes see only possibility.

When we look in their faces we are unsettled by their single mindedness. A child will stamp its feet and stand its ground. As an adult, you try and figure out how to appease the situation. The child doesn’t care. But adults think too much. Trapped in a jail of their own minds and afraid of what they feel and think. – or something like that. I can loan you a copy of Emerson’s self-reliance if you’d like. It’s eloquently put.”

I understood what he meant. “Being selfish is hard. It’s awkward to act on instinct without bowing or considering others in order to get what I need. But I guess I act nice and do things I don’t want to because I need to be in someone’s good books and keep my job.”

“Think of it this way,” said Sam, “Are you being unselfish when you act that way or simply deceitful, lying and conniving?”

That shook me by the shoulders. I often thought of myself as a straightforward, honest and kind person. Not someone who played games, but the truth of the matter was, I lied all day long.

“That’s what I thought,” said Sam driving the point home. “You’d be surprised how much bull crap you put up with and spit out, simply because you’re not self-reliant and feel powerless.” Continue reading

Phoenix 1.3 The Realization

“You ever wake up at night panicked about the fact that you will cease to exist some day?” Sam asked knowing the answer but waiting anyway.

“You do too?”

Even the question made my stomach knot up.

“Of course,” Sam said. “Once you’re past a certain age a ship has sailed. It’s the awareness of death. It changes how you live for the moment. You either panic and try to get the right things done as soon as possible taking short cuts in a manic race – or you relax and just do you. Life is only a string of moments and creativity is maximized by being in each one – without filter. Knowing that death comes for us all, what is there to fear or lose by being our true selves? Even if going where the fish are gets you lots of fish…”

Sam started laughing. Then he snorted.

“What’s so funny?” I asked. Continue reading

Phoenix 1.2 Crisis

Sam continued talking while I gained ground to close the gap between us.

“Lies divide you and shatter your integrity. Especially the lies you try to sneak by your soul about yourself. They leave you collecting pieces of your best self and cradling them in doubt and fear. A fully integrated person is one who knows the shadow and light inside and doesn’t scold or applaud either. What you act on is choice. A lot of choices you make are based on fear. Mostly fear of repercussions. Losing your job. Going to jail. Getting a ticket. Public outrage. Simple embarrassment. The biggest mistake is seeking approval. That, and wanting others to speak well of you.”

Sam turned right down a path without warning. I jogged a couple steps to catch up just as Sam sat down on a log. Continue reading

Phoenix 1.1 Be yourself everyone else is already taken

be yourself everyone else is already taken army photo

“Be yourself everyone else is already taken,” was spray painted on the concrete wall of the overpass. I drove by it every day on my way to the job site. It was about here on the drive that the engine started to get warm. The floor heater of the Chevy Blazer kicked up the smell of effort from a pair of steel-toed boots well past their prime. Those boots were both pride and shackles.

The boots were a source of pride because I finally stuck with something and saw the electrician training all the way though. I did the hours and was qualified. But those boots were also shackles because they meant I did what someone told me to, when they wanted me to, for however much money they wanted to pay me.

I pulled into the parking lot for the monthly safety meeting. In forty five minutes I would be back on my way to the job site to wire up an electrical panel.

That’s what I thought. Forty-five minutes later I was jobless.

After four years of an electrician apprenticeship I was laid off yet again. The work came and went as jobsites popped up and then became finished. Finish at a jobsite and you worked your way out of a job. It was a real disappointment to say the least. After all, I gave up doing what I really liked doing to be responsible and get a stable income.

When I was a personal trainer I had all the time in the world to workout. Matter of fact, I got paid to do it. I ran with clients and sometimes even worked out set for set with them if they asked me to.

Since then, I’d gotten out of shape, developed new aches and pains and was generally pretty disappointed with the way life was going.

Doing ten hour shifts plus travel time didn’t leave much time for anything except comfort food and some TV at the end of the day.

On my way home, I passed the writing on the overpass again. The walls of life felt like they were closing in. I was getting older, my body was rebelling and I hated losing my job every few months.

The fact of the matter was I was trapped. Trapped by uncontrollable income, a body that was rebelling and debt that got bigger each month.
Continue reading