My own little op ed…
Interesting observation the past month…not counting my own life long inclinations towards minimalism and a touch ludditism (more of a appreciation for simple ingenious tools than a hate of anything) I’ve encountered a significant number of people across various demographics who profess a desire to scale back and even eliminate a lot of the ‘matrix tools’ as I call them. This includes not only retreating from online social media but ousting their TV’s and video game consoles, going back to basic cell phones and in several cases canceling cell service for old landline phones-even tracking down rotary phones (yes they are still out there), canceling internet at home and even selling off any computers they have, content with using one at the public library when desired. Also in more than one case they express or are even in the process of selling houses for something smaller – out of the suburbs or city bustle if possible, getting rid of vehicles, and a general jettisoning of material possessions. Some of these people have a professional background, others don’t, some have an adequate income some don’t, some are highly educated some not. Some of them have admittedly, like myself, had a life long appreciation for minimalism but for others this orientation is a paradigm shift and they are not sure where or why it has come.
I think it says something about a shift in values, about a shift away from some aspect of daily operation that deletes qualities of being alive in a poor trade off for some hooked up plugged in alluring candy. I am starting to wonder if perhaps this is not so random but a larger social trend across a wide spectrum of society? Not that we are all going to go join the amish but perhaps the dazzle of the past 15 -20 years is impressing us less and we are coming out of the spell it has had on us. I don’t think it is a mere nostalgia for things of the past or a retreat to the what was or some imagined simpler time. I think for some of us of a age that can be a factor but many who are recalibrating their lifestyles are too young for such a recollection. I guess if when I next visit the local library I find some twenty somethings sitting around reading the likes of of Wendell Berry out of a real book I’ll have my confirmation… and probably a quiet smile.
A beautiful New Year to all High Mesa Fitness® students and friends.
I am here to announce the return of the High Mesa W.O.W (workout of the week). Several of you have recently made the request and I’d like to honor it.
To make this a viable service I will need have at least 10 people sign up with a commitment of at least 2 months. The cost will be 25.00 per month, to paid via paypal for the time being.
As per the past, all subscribers will receive a workout flow the beginning of each week to implement as their weekly training for whatever the fitness goals they have, or as a compliment to other training they might be doing. It stands alone or in harmony with other modes of exercise. For instance you might be enjoying the slopes a lot this winter, or getting reading for a spring 1/2 marathon, or maybe have returned to the dojo. Either way one will want some solid trusted conditioning to construct a rock hard foundation.
The base of each weeks workout will be body weight training, a.k.a calisthenics, but might also include kettle bells, clubs, rings, medicine balls, or other props. Along the way I will make suggestions of gear you should have access to either in a gym or at home… and honestly I feel a home based gym always the best. Not that I don’t like a good ol classic iron dojo. Other modes of training will be incorporated include moving in outdoors, in nature, with a bow to Bush Parkour®, Mobility training (joint mobility and haha yoga), and ‘natural gymnastics’. This is all focused with cultivating a love of movement and even play, while engage in exertion and purifying perspiration – a true holy water.
Each weeks flow will have adjustments for what ever level is most appropriate for you. This is not merely for one demographic. We are all on this path together.
Two new aspects that will be added are a upgraded delivery format rather a plain email, and video tutoring.
Anticipated launch date is set for Feb 1st.
To sign up send a email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Subject line W.O.W. 2016 . Simply say “YES’ in the message. Questions are of course welcomed.
I look forward to hearing from you and envision a magnificent year for all of us with robust vigor, health, and peace.
In strength and courage,
Coach Joe Sheader
I have no doubt that to live a flourishing life one must live simply, yet instead we complicate it sometimes to the point of fubar. We over involve ourselves, fall prey to the glut and marketing of greed, generate or at least participate in drama, give way to our reptilian id over good sense and virtue, busy ourselves with the trivial, neglect the value and wisdom of sweeping the floor, chopping wood, carrying water, running a trail; we let, yes let if not outright invite every little snowflake to ruffle our feathers to the point that being uptight is our modus operandi; feed and rehearse the fear of what doesn’t matter over the practice of what does. Living a life in which you flourish is honestly not that difficult, you only make it so. You still have a choice, every day, every breath. Everyone of us has this choice, whatever our station or predicament in life is.
Yes the correlation to autumn and running is strong. I think it goes down deep, primal deep.
For me no matter the season running is not really about heart rate or calories or PR’s or so many other such concerns. Honestly a lot of that is fairly trivial to me and was even when I was racing on the elite stages.
Running was and is more about sage, sky, and greeting the sun.
Though and perhaps because I am a naturalist this thought from Mills resonates.
“Your life is a gift from the Creator. Your gift back to the Creator is what you do with your life.”
-Billy Mills; Lakota, 1964 Olympic 10,000 meter champion
Recently while running among the mesa tops and canyons of my homeland I was reminded of a period in which a great deal of my running experience was shared with Turtle Island native companions. They were primarily from the tribes of the Southwest; Diné (Navajo), Hopi, and those of the Pueblo’s, Ute, yet also Lakota and others.
To breathe across the landscape with these runners was a different experience than with others. It was far more quiet, little talking and no heavy feet landing; we moved akin to breeze across the high desert scape of sage and sand; the awareness of sky, of desert cottontail, of raven or hawk in the sky was sharper and of more value than heart rate, gps, what a watch said, and certainly nothing as intrusive as a iPod.
One learns not only about a deeper way to run in such company but about being abundantly alive as well. For these men and women running was not a mere activity they might have been introduced to in school track. It was part of their cultures, their way of being, their spiritual practice. Many of them were introduced to running by their grandfathers as a proper way to be at one with the earth at their feet and the sky above. Running was survival. Running was the hallmark of a Brave. Running was not mere sport or exercise, but was and remains a sacrament of sorts.
I can tell you this; running with the ‘chi’ or flow is nothing new. It was known, taught, and expressed way before a book came out on it. Indeed the practice, techniques, and other ‘secrets’ have been with these peoples for thousands of years and remain so.
Take a look at the cover of the book INDIAN RUNNING by Peter Nabokov (see amazon.com). Those three young warriors were three of the very same that often took me with them across the sagebrush and pinyon-juniper.
There is no doubt that there exists within the native peoples of Turtle Island the talent to rival any endurance or long distance running tradition in the world, including the African nations. If we as a society enabled these outstanding talents as we do young kids yearning to be NFL Quarterbacks this would be witnessed. Yet I digress. For now, I encourage you on your next run (or hike) to leave behind the gadgets and instead move with open senses, quiet breath, soft feet, and the joy of the earth and sky around you…see if you can catch and thereby some deep part of you remember, just a little of what our native brothers and sisters have always known.
Photo.. a scene from my own running grounds…