24: Ryan Fischer – Strength, Work Ethic, & Reflection

Ryan Fischer has off the charts fitness, numerous feats of physical strength, and experience in helicopter flying, Olympic skeleton, BMX racing, competitive CrossFitting, and hiking all over the world.  His life is a set of circumstances that have developed him into a fulfilled gym owner.  But his biggest strength is his drive and his work ethic, and Ryan is more than a competitor or gym owner.

This episode is more than what his bio says.  This episode is about the man you think you know as Ryan Fischer. We had the chance to dive deep into Ryan’s life on a level you have never heard before. This episode goes beyond fitness as we reflect on where Ryan’s drive comes from, his relationship with his family, how he always knew he was different, what makes him happy, and where his unconquerable soul comes from.  This isn’t an episode I took lightly. I wanted to offer a platform of reflection and growth through a respectful path of vulnerability and strength. This special episode was an honor for me to record. I humbly thank you for choosing this to listen to with a special thank you to Ryan’s mom, Kim.

With gratitude,

Scott McGee

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Show Notes:

Short story:  The Cracked Pot

4:32  What is stronger? Your muscles or your work ethic.

10:36  To find your work ethic, does it need to found through physical effort?  Moments that forced you to be strong.

A story of a Son.

13:43  I never really had that dad feeling and because of that I searched for different things to put energy into that couldn’t be bought. You cant get it any other way except for super hard work. If I did that, I created that and it made me feel good.

Finding out some big news at 18 that changed everything.

22:30  I remember always telling my mom that there was something about me that was different. I knew that I was going to be different. I always knew it.

23:00  First contacts with real dad.

30:30  Raising money for Olympics.  The biggest check Ryan had ever received.

The $500 check.

33:20  The grandparents

37:40  Everybody has a struggle. Everyone has a deal going on. But there’s always room for a heart to heart conversation between a father and son. -SM

38:33  Do you think finding out made you a stronger person?

40:00  Reflection on life and relationships.

41:04  What do you think your mom is most proud about you? A conversation with mom.

(Ryan’s mom): He never followed the crowd. He stayed true to himself and his values.

Where does Ryan’s drive come from? And how his drive is a weakness.

49:30  What makes Ryan happy?

58:00  “Settling down” and relationships.

1:04:30*  What is your inner conversation like during a workout?

Once everything starts to hurt, we just started working out. Let’s go to work.

Little cues to help push through the work out.

1:10:20  The Little Man Story

1:14:10  How memory retention works. 

1:16:11  The CrossFit drive that transcends and the ripple effects.

Two things that define you.  Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.

Happiness vs Fulfilled

Planting the seed of gratitude is in someone else’s couch. -SM

1:28:09  Military dreams. How training to be a Nazy Seal led Ryan to CrossFit.

1:37:00  Wim Hof, Ice Baths, Float Tanks, Saunas

1:42:00  Being dedicated to action and non-action.  How to destress.

Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation

1:48:14  What has hosting a podcast taught you?

2:01:15  Ryan’s online programming

You don’t see a moving truck behind a Hearse. 

Links:

@RyanFisch  @1ScottMcGee @CrossFitChalk  @TheSisuWay

CrossFitChalk.com    TheSisuWay.com

23: Author Ryan Munsey – Awareness Creates Choice

How do you create an unbeatable mind that provides the fortitude, grit, sisu, invictus, and mental toughness to overcome adversity? How do you positively alter your mental state? This is the episode that answers those questions. 

The goal of this episode is to bring awareness on how we make decisions and how we take action and responsibility for our lives in an intentional way.  Self-awareness is something we can develop.  This awareness is what creates choice.

My guest is Ryan Munsey, author of the book, F*ck Your Feelings.  Ryan is an artful scientist who has the drive, curiosity, and compassion to explore the  reason of why some people succeed and others do not.  He is also a high performance consultant, speaker, and host of the podcast, The Better Human Project.  We discuss how to master your mind, accomplish your goals, and become a better human while being rooted in gratitude and lifted by awareness.

Show Notes:

Invictus

Moments – You are writing you’re own eulogy. When you’re gone, People will think and speak of you in the way that you live your life. We have the ability to shape how that conversation goes by the way that we move through the world.  Those moments are a choice.

7:16  Line in the sand – What are you going to do?

15:20  Who are you and what does it mean to be a good human?

18:34  You can control your Attitude and Effort.

19:50  Your life is perfectly designed for the results that you are getting.

23:15  How do you measure success? Hint: It shouldn’t be extrinsic.

Chris Dancy – We don’t know how to measure what we value so we begin to value what we measure.

The Rocking Chair Test – Health, Happiness, Performance

28:00   Can you measure happiness?  Heart Rate Variability

31:18  The 85 year-old Challenge.  Memento Mori

Appreciation not Expectation.

36:00  How do we positively affect our mental states? How the brain makes a decision.

44:20 95% of our decisions are based on how we feel in any given moment.

Feelings – a mental experience of a physiological state.  If we change our physiology we can change our feelings.

46:30  Limbic System – emotional ego driven teenager – feelings – the now

Prefrontal Cortex – the sage. – awareness

58:50  What is the vagus nerve and how does it affect you?

Emotional Resiliency – Bandwith

1:10:35  How to stay relaxed in traffic.

1:12:00  Wim Hof Method

Breathwork – how to stimulate your vagus nerve and why its important to exhale longer than inhale.

Cold Exposure – Stay parasympathetic in an environment that normally makes you sympathetic.

1:19:00 What you can do right now to improve mental resilience and toughness.

Developing grit though: Cold showers – look towards the sky and focus on the breath.

Be kind, be rooted in gratitude turn off defense mechanisms, etc.

Posture – Don’t sit or stand like a victim.

1:39:05 Playing – Don’t be the reason you stop playing.

2:03:08  The 360 sphere – Do not be out of round

Links:

F*ck Your Feelings – By Ryan Munsey

RyanMunsey.com for signed copy

Check out Ryan’s podcast: The Better Human Project

Instagram: @ryanmunsey_  @1scottmcgee  @thesisuway

TheSisuWay.com

The Sisu Way Team for Whole Life Challenge

13: Keep Swimming – An Episode on Grief

The most beautiful people are those that have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have still found their way out of the depths.

These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.

Beautiful people do not just happen.    Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Grief comes in waves.  It can feel like you have been wrecked by wave after wave, all the while trying to cling onto some piece of the beautiful ship you used to and planned to have.  At first all you can do is try to stay afloat while sipping on air during the short stay on the surface. Eventually, maybe (just maybe) with the help of this podcast episode and what I want to share with you (because it was shared with me), you will learn that you can choose to function… and keep swimming

Life is not a guarantee nor is it a right.  We are here temporarily on this planet.  We are the lucky ones that get to experience the ride of life.  Parts of the ride can hurt, but those moments create character and strength.  Progress is made through holding up your shield, grabbing the shipwreck, confronting the painful events, looking at them squarely and facing the realities of loss, death, or disappointments. Be proud of the pain, feel the pain because you can, be proud of your scars.  Vulnerability is Strength.  Those scars, those strike marks are the battle wounds of life that make us who we are.  (That is why The Sisu Way logo has strike marks and scratches in it.)  We are the lucky ones who have the ability….the gift to hurt.

Here is the full post on Reddit by the user GSnow when asked for advice on how to deal with the grief and the loss of a loved one.  It helped me when I needed it, hopefully it helps you and/or someone you know:

[Serious] How do you cope with the passing of someone you are close to? from AskReddit

Get up strong,

Scott McGee

The Sisu Way

12: Olympian Lauren Gibbs – Happiness is a Choice

Lauren Gibbs is an American bobsledder who won a silver medal at the 2018 Olympic Games.  While that is a statement of fact, it does not define Lauren’s character. She is equal parts power, intelligence, intuition, respect, and drive. This makes her a champion of a human being. Our conversation is meant to show people that grit is learned. That you can choose to be happy. That anyone can achieve their dreams if they work hard and are honest about deficiencies, and believe in their ability to choose.

Show notes:

8:30  What it feels like to be an Olympian.

12:05  College Coach Diane Short: “It was not a surprise at all. She never folded under pressure.”

Lauren says this was not true because she relied on natural talent. What does this mean now looking back.

Are most lessons through suffering and pain?

18:30  Lesson in asserting yourself

20:00  Business suit to Team USA suit – Staying in something you are not happy with.

Finding purpose

24:14  How does someone find what makes them happy?

Happiness is a choice.” – Lauren Gibbs

“Take opportunities and see them through.”

28:40  I understand what I want to do. Public speaking, leading the youth.

You actually have to work!

33:00  Do that thing you want to do. Time is not a right its a privilege.

36:00 Your authentic self.  Learning to work hard.

42:00  Training for bobsled and how to make the team.

45:10  Setting up to go for a bobsled run.

59:04  Fighting for gold.

1:04:00 Making Team USA and telling your parents.

1:08:27  Is grit learnable?

1:11:30  How to develop contentment with yourself.

1:15:58  Best lesson: “Be able to have open and honest conversations about your deficiencies.”

1:17:45  “You’ll you never be successful if its something that you can do different or better, then that means you have the opportunity to be better.”

1:20:44  Selfie with the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump. You don’t have to agree to be civil. Americans taking a selfie.

Social Media:

@lagibbs84, @1scottmcgee,   @TheSisuWay  TheSisuWay.com

Health is Wealth – Vulnerability is a Strength – Strength is a Choice

You are the Master of your Fate – You are the Captain of your Soul

Get Up Strong – Be Unconquerable

 

11: Christmas Abbot – Pressure is a Privilege

Christmas Abbott is an author, athlete, CrossFit gym owner, girl boss, former pit crew member, entrepreneur, branding/marketing expert, speaker, and model …but these titles DON’T define her. It’s her courage, spunk, guts, and her gumption that make her a relentless human. It is these qualities coupled with her heart, that will fuel her greatest title ever… Mom.

In this episode we talk about one of Christmas’ darkest years, how she is grateful for tragedy, the collateral beauty associated with it, what helps her recover emotionally, and her pregnancy. 2018 is serving to be a transformative year, as Christmas is using her vulnerability, struggle, fire, and heart to not only empower others, but to prepare for the best thing she will do with her life, and that is to be a mother.

I am honored to hear (and share) the news and super proud of her. I hope you enjoy this side of the one and only, Christmas Abbott. 

Show Notes:

“Stopped being impressed by things, and started being impressed by people that were happy. People that made other people feel good.” – Scott

4:00  Who are you? “Work in progress. A human who wants to leave a beautiful footprint.

8:00  1996 Sister’s car accident when Christmas was 13 – Darkest years of life, as was 2017.

11:13  2017 A dark year. Learned what made of and the bigger picture

13:01  Near death experience – Mortar round in Iraq

Experience in Iraq as a female

14:10  Looks a strength or a weakness? 

16:37  Health is Wealth – Broken Foot

2017  Broke up with finance – friend OD’d – Depression – Broken foot

19:15  Big Brother TV show – Human Experiment

23:10  What helped her recover emotionally.  Service. Vulnerability. Struggle.

Vulnerability is Strength

“Saving lives saves lives.”

26:20  Connection and therapy through social media

27:07 Caterpillar or butterfly?

“Life is awesome, but first I’m going to make you strong.” -Scott

28:40  Gratitude

Whats hurting you?  Word for this year is, “Transformative”.

31:00  Slice of life that “normal people” are protected from.

32:30  Nar-Anon – support group – community that understood demons

34:00  How to be honest with yourself.

38:20  How to figure of what your Why is.

38:53  Christmas is pregnant – Her greatest role is yet to come.

41:40  “I’m pregnant

“This is the best thing I will do in my life.”

47:00  Slow Down Challenge – Pay Attention

51:46  Grateful for Tragedy – Collateral Beauty

56:00  Get Up Strong – Live and Love on Purpose – Empowering Kids

1:03:20  Loving your body during pregnancy

1:13:13  Living the life that you Love

1:14:50 Social Media as a journal

 

Social Media:

@christmasabbott, @canutrition, @badassbodydiet 

@1scottmcgee, @TheSisuWay   TheSisuWay.com

Links and References:

Beyonce – I Was Here

How to reach Christmas: info@christmasabbott.com

Badass Life Book

Christmas Abbott Nutrition (CAN) Online Nutrition Platform

Amazing Video: Alexander Tsiaras explaining human development from conception to birth

Badass Body Diet Book

 

“I hope your day gets better.”

9: Lindsey Valenzuela – Strength to Give

Lindsey Valenzuela is someone you may identify as a CrossFit Games Athlete, but Lindsey is more than that. She is a powerhouse of emotion, passion, strength, and love that has had a renewed sense of purpose since the birth of her son.  Lindsey has inspired generations of men, women, and children to “Lift Like Lindsey”, to find their strength through vulnerability, and that its okay to show your emotions. She isn’t defined by her victories or loss’s, what matters is what kind of human being she has become. 

In this episode we talk about having belief in your ability to work for what you want, successes and failures in CrossFit, letting pain resonate and moving on, being true to yourself, legacies, becoming a mom, giving back, perspective on growth, what its like to be married to a law enforcement officer, and where she draws strength from.  I am lucky to record this episode with Lindsey, surrounded by loved ones, because she is like a little sister to me. This is a also a special episode to me because we learn to not only Lift Like Lindsey, but to have a Heart Like Lindsey.   

Show Notes: 

Be Strong when you are weak, Brave when you are scared, & Humble when you are Victorious. – Michelle Moschetti.

1:03  What is Autumo?  It is Latin for “I Believe.”  A motto and way of living that has guided Lindsey.

2:30  The “why” for this episode.

6:50  Believe in your ability to work for what you want.

11:53 “Take whats yours.” –Coach Kellee Roesel.  If you want something, but willing to go work for it.

13:10  “It doesn’t matter about victories or loses. It matters about what kind of human being you have become.”

13:34  2014 CrossFit experience and lessons learned from “failing” to make the CrossFit Games. 

18:12 How silly does not making the Games look now?

19:23  Victories, defeats, letting pain resonate with you, and learning to move on.

21:30  Vulnerability is a sign of Strength.

24:30  Lindsey’s honesty about her pregnancy

35:17  Titles? How does Lindsey identify herself? Vulnerability, passion, and emotions. 

38:45  Being true to yourself in the face of adversity. Being a role model.

44:15  Ability to make others feel good. Strength to Give.  Strength is more than a muscle. 

At just 10-months-old, Fritz was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Disorder, a fatal genetic disorder leading to progressive muscle degeneration. It’s incurable though physical therapy can help re-build weak muscles, but living beyond 30 is rare. Fritz’s parents started a non-profit to raise awareness and help fund research for a cure. **Lindsey’s gym did a fundraiser to help support the family.  You can help by clinking the link below**

“Live on Purpose” – Scott

56:35  What do you want your legacy to be?

“Get Up Strong.” – Scott

58:50  What message would you want to leave for your son to find in 20 years?

“I didn’t really start living until he was born.” – LV

1:02:53  What its like to be married to a law enforcement officer and how does that affect parenting.

1:19:30  Where draw biggest strength from.

“He shows me what it means to make hard times simple.” – LV on her son. 

“Lift Like Lindsey. Heart Like Lindsey!”

Books talked about in the episode:

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Emotional Survival by Dr. Gilmartin

Websites:

AutumoCrossFit.com

Fritz and Friends   Please click to donate and learn more.

TheSisuWay.com

Social Media:

@liftlikelindsey, @1scottmcgee, @thesisuway, @autumocrossfit, @dro

8: Tait Fletcher – Humility is Growth

Tait Fletcher has a wide-ranging resume from addict, fighter, stuntman, entrepreneur, podcaster, actor, etc. but that is NOT why he is on the show.  Through adversity, he follows his passion that happens to give him those titles.  Through his brokenness, Tait curates a positive life for himself that empowers those around him.  He has the life experience and perspective that taught him that service leads to a fulfilling life. Tait’s number one rule is to lead a life of appreciation. THAT is why this unconquerable soul is on the show. As Tait says, humility is the ability to be taught. I am proud to call Tait a friend, but he is also a mentor, soul recalibrater, teacher, and standard holder.

I am humbled to have a soul to soul conversation with Tait about appreciation, gratitude, and growth that happened to be recorded for this special episode. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Stay strong,

Scott

Below are some show notes and references:

3:12  How do you curate a positive life and fall in love with that life? 

8:20  What legacy are you leaving? How can you be of service?  How can you be more useful to your community?

11:20  Humility is being teachable.

19:36  What is a virtuous man?

“What I think about matters. What I say matters. What my actions are matter.”

31:30  Dichotomy of thought. Positive thought hack. #thoughtdrunk

Replace with 2 positive thoughts, or 1 positive action

Change you Actions – Change your Thoughts

38:14 “If you want to learn. If you want to grow. Get rid of your defensiveness.”

47:15  (Homework) Have a conversation without saying anything. Just sit there and listen.

When you have a negative thought, follow it up with a positive action.

50:55  Advice from Eddie Bravo: #1 – “Be in appreciation all the time.

57:53  What do you struggle with? What is commitment?

1:05:00  How do you find strength to give all your outlets the opportunity they deserve?

1:10:30  Meditation – Restored – Changing Behavior

1:15:00  Kids?

1:26:16  Leadership

1:37:13 Acting Career – Connecting with people – Favorite scenes and memorable deaths

Tait’s websites:

Tait Fletcher, Pirate Life Radio, Caveman Coffee Co,

Social Media to follow:

@taitfletcher, @functionalcoach, Ryan Moody, Aubrey Marcus, Joe Rogan

Scott McGee, The Sisu Way

Things to read:

Claudette Colvin, Letter from Birmingham Jail

Eric Greitens, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life

TheSisuWay.com

4: Health is Wealth – Memento Mori – Movement is a Gift

Health is Wealth” is one of the tag-lines of The Sisu Way, but if I were to make the title of this episode longer it would say, “Health is Wealth, Movement is a Gift, and Your Will is Within Your Power.”

Without health, all the perceived wealth in the world is irrelevant. We all have health, if you didn’t you would not be able to listen to this podcast. If you can’t hear this podcast then be grateful you can read these words. If you have the ability and resources to purchase whatever device you are listening to it from you have health.  We also live in countries that allow podcasts, and other peoples opinions can be heard.  These are all gifts.

There is a latin phrase, Memento Mori, which means remember death, or remember that you will die. This stoic practice of reflection on mortality is an opportunity to reflect on the temporary state of our being and to appreciate what we have in the moment… health, the gift of movement, the freedom and opportunity to choose strength, and the gratitude for it.

Buddha said: To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.

To go a bit further, beyond just a healthy you….is a healthy you full of appreciation, gratitude, and a resilient mind to see the gifts in the world instead of what you don’t have. The ability to wake up from wants and needs and appreciate what you have right now. Remember to forgive and love yourself, and take a moment to really appreciate the ability to see, hear, and talk with your loved ones.

For more info and episodes go to: TheSisuWay.com

Instagram: @thesisuway

Personal: @1scottmcgee

3: Strength to Love – MLK “Loving Your Enemies”

Episode 3: Strength to Love is about perspective. This episode stands to provide a different light on the finger pointing mentality we sometimes show, and instead, turn the light back on ourselves. We have the ability to chose strength, love, and forgiveness.  This leads to growth, not pain.  We are the master of our fate. We are the captain of our soul.

I open with the Man in the Arena, a speech by Theodore Roosevelt that hammered critics who look down upon people who are trying to make the world a better place.

One of those people was Martin Luther King Jr. He is someone I very much admire. His approach to dealing with hate and negativity is so simple yet very difficult. It starts with analyzing ourselves and forgiveness. We can show the strength to love by looking within. We can heal by actively and intently listening, taking accountability for ourselves, and learning to forgive. That includes forgiving ourselves. His sermon, Loving Your Enemies, is covered in the middle of the podcast.

I close out the episode by providing a way to stand up in the storm and have compassion for those that fail. I provide tenets I try to live by and a social media challenge.

The goal of this episode is to shine light on some of the dark thoughts we have and show you that it’s okay to put the heavy bag of resentment down. It’s time to surrender. Love is the Way.

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Books:

Strength to Love – Martin Luther King Jr.

2: Strong Willed – A Parents Story about Strength, Willpower, & Resilience

Episode 2: Strong Willed, is a story of strength, fortitude, and a celebration of resilience told through letters that were written to my sons from several months in 2015. In Episode 1: For Dad I looked back to the generation before me. In this episode, I take a look at the generation after me by sharing a story of life and death with my son, Connor. This story may bring you thoughts of sadness or grief, but I want to change your perspective on that.  This is a story of choosing to overcome adversity, and how an unborn child recalibrated his father’s mindset with one powerful kick. Things happen to us, but like Connor proved, those things don’t define us.  Good and bad things come and go like life speed bumps, but you can choose to have an unconquerable soul and turn anything into an action for good.

This is only part of Connor’s story, as I will discuss him more throughout this podcast.  In this episode I tie together the words my parents wrote, especially my dad, in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I share how I forgave my father about writing to his grandson too late in life, from a letter he wrote me on March 16, 1981.

Time is not a right, it is a privilege. Life is precious, unexpected, and unpredictable.  But like my mom wrote to me in 1979, “This world is only as you make it.” Health is wealth. Vulnerability is strength. Strength is a choice.  You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.  Choose strength and be unconquerable.

Books mentioned on the show:

The Art of Living by Epictetus

Mask of Masculinity by Lewis Howes

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

1: For Dad – The Why

Welcome to the first episode of The Sisu Way Podcast. There are many reasons for this passion project, and I’d like to start the show with my ‘why’. One of the major themes is the awareness, appreciation, connection and gratitude for life and the opportunity to leave lessons for the next generation.  In this episode I share a deeply personal experience (12:41) and lesson in the balance of life and death. Within the same week, my first son was born and my father died.  Life is a privilege, not a guarantee.  It’s a reminder that health is wealth, and there is no time to waste in sharing how you feel with your loved ones.  With that being said, I encourage you to start writing for your loved ones, and have the generation in front of you do the same.  Don’t assume your kids know that much about you as a person, or that there will be lessons for them if something were to happen to you.  There is generational information that is lost between is, and there is something we can do about it!

Another reason for the show is to motivate, inspire, and help others.  I want to grow this together into a movement for service and personal growth.  Surrendering, writing more on social media, and opening up personal thoughts is something I decided to do because I found it reached someone at the right time.  That connection helps build us both up. Battles, adversity challenges are all universal and unavoidable but we have a choice how to react to it. Our attitudes and thoughts are in our control.  Accountability is happiness and strength is a choice.

This episode was a relief for me to record. I did not know how I would feel recording solo for the first time, but I am glad I did it. I hope you appreciate my honesty and I humbly thank you for listening. I am very excited for what this show has in store for all of us!

Stay strong,

Scott

Pain Now, Pride Forever.

Written in September 2016

Hard times build hard people.

The pain.  The pain you feel is a white ball of healing light. -Tyler Durden

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. -Marcus Aurelius

Does what happens to you keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?

NOPE – Then get back to work.

The following is free form writing.  I found out today that after dedicating hundreds and hundreds of hours of work and sacrifice towards a goal, I did not make it. I failed.  When I found out, the first image that came to my head was a visual memory of the look on my son’s face when I had to leave him.  He was two years old and wanted to play with his dad.  I remember having to clear him from the threshold of the door so I could close it.  He had a lack of understanding in his eyes, but his understanding of the world made more sense then mine. We locked eyes as I closed the door.  Those hours, those moments I will never get back. He will never be that age again.  I let him down. 

The moment I oriented myself on the information I had received, I felt like someone had died. I felt like I was under water, my hearing changed, time slowed, I felt like someone had their hands on my heart. The feeling felt similar to when my dad died and when we found out about Connor. As I sit here, I temporarily feel like any laugh or smile is only surface related.  There is a deep level of grief. 

This grief, this pain, I want to meet face to face.  I want to allow it in.  I want it to hurt me.  I’m lucky because it hurts. I want to cry.  I will grieve.  I will respect these feelings.  I will get up and stand with them.  I am brave enough to face them. I will stand up in the storm.  I will face these arrows.  I will be proud and unbending in defeat.  I cherish these moments.  This pain is a blessing.  

Continue reading

Be the Light

The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies. My friends, we have followed the so-called practical way for too long a time now, and it has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. -MLK Jr.

I wanted to write this piece because I know we have a chance. There is good in us, there is light that wants to connect. After my conversation with my friend Sal Masekela (WODcast Podcast 240 1:15 and 280 53:40) seeing the response from the listeners, it reinforced the my belief that we can do better.  I am in a unique position that allows me to use my experience for good.  We all are.  We just need to open ourselves up and actually listen to each other. I mean actually listen to understand, not just hear and wait to deliver your point.  That is “versus” and a selfish mentality that does not lead to empathy and growth.  I see sides that want to prove they are right.  It hurts when I see darkness where there should be light.  It’s time to set down that bag of judgement, anger, bitterness, and retaliation.  Love is lighter and lifts us all.

Matin Luther King did many sermons that have impact on society today.  The quote in the photo below is from a sermon he did at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1957.  The relevance of his words feel like they could have been easily said today. It deals with learning to love your adversaries. “Loving your enemies” was so basic to King and part of his basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. This applies not only to people, but to situations and circumstances.  If we were to ask King today Continue reading

Character Building

You  cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself.   -James A. Froude

I have been blessed with the health and ability to complete workouts in honor of our Country’s finest people and fallen heroes.  I am one that is still here with the ability to drive on using the gift of movement and the strength of mind to appreciate the moment.  I am bathed in humility by the character of heroes that have given their lives in service to others, and I am sensitive to the lasting impact it makes on their families.  I revere them and I’m forever grateful.

Lt. Michael Murphy is one of those heroes. When Michael Murphy completed the workout that was eventually named after him he called it “Body Armor”. I think the workout not only makes your body stronger, it makes your spirit more resilient. It’s a character builder. The grind we go through in this particular workout is universal yet so simple. You learn to drive on through the doubt and pain while encouraging your teammates around you.  That is beautiful pain.

This year I wore some old body armor and carried the Sisu Hammer for the entire workout. I carried it on the run, held it on top of my feet while doing strict pull ups, and held it in my hands during the squats and push-ups. The hammer simulated a protection weapon that men better than me aren’t here to carry anymore. It represented a weight that I felt honored to carry, and no matter how heavy it was, it was a gift of burden that shows I am alive and can feel pain.  How lucky am I? Continue reading

Strong Willed – Part II

 

*Three months after the words of Part I.

Its not what happens to you, but how you react that matters. -Epictetus

Every obstacle is an opportunity. I truly believe that. In this case, the obstacle gave Connor the opportunity to live.  At this point we have been through five intrauterine blood transfusions and have kept Connor alive. The doctor has successfully transfused Connors blood through a long needle that went though Amanda’s stomach, into her womb, and into a vein in the umbilical cord. We were very fortunate to have this option.  Here’s why.  During this process, we were getting regular ultrasounds to check the status of Connor’s hydrops (cranial/body swelling and heart size). At one of our standard ultrasounds he switched over to a type of ultrasound that shows blood flow.  What he saw was another very rare condition called Vasa Previa. Vasa Previa, in our case, was a fetal blood vessel from the placenta that was crossing the entrance to the birth canal.  If that vessel ruptured, Connor would suffer from rapid fetal hemorrhaging and die within minutes.  The fetal mortality rate is estimated to be as high as 95% if not diagnosed before birth. Amanda was immediately put on bed rest, even though she had been CrossFitting almost daily till then. We needed to restrict her movement as much as possible and for as long as possible. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. The doctors wanted her in Labor and Delivery for seven weeks antepartum, in Continue reading