When traveling and staying in others spaces (including NATURE)…
We seek so ardently to “live in the moment” that most of us spend most of our waking hours working fervently to ensure as little surprise or originality will ever filter into our compartmentalized existences.
And we call the prophets mad.
One of the purposes of this section of the site is to allow you to learn new and creative ways to “live outside the box”. You want the best life has to offer, you will have to learn new things, thats simple logic, that which is simple logic is best. The hardest thing about simple logic is the doing, this is why self help sections of the bookstore/library are huge. Reading a self help book has become the practice. What you need to realize is that the practice must be what the book suggests, not simply reading book after book, seminar after seminar. At some point you must DO.
Let it be said, let it be done, enjoy this section and may the very best come your way as you desire and are ready!
All events are true as best I can discern, names of people are pretty much all changed. Shocking how slow I am going through with this…
My re-entry back into biking close on the heels of my failed/Wildly Successful Depending How you Look at It ‘Sailing to Hawaii Expedition with Captain Lee’ (It should be registered that the boat was first owned by Mr. Larry Flint – hustler Magazine, and was bright pink=) and subsequent rescue by the Mexican Navy [another story for another time, my first sailboat ride=], was in the form of 83 mile bicycle ride with twin Ortlieb panniers on the rear Tubus rack, starting at my parents in Lancaster, PA and arriving in Baltimore, MD.
Epically fine ride, a huge chunk, I would say at least half or maybe more is possible via rail trails with BEAUTIFUL scenery and quaint everything in the small towns you pass through from time to time. Big thank you to Mt. Gretna Bikes and Mike F. for helping me with route selection!
Sweet General Store near Glen Rock, all kinds of things…. Please do “Say” hello to the shopkeeper from me, he is a most amiable guy who looked forward to seeing me again…
My re-entry back into blogging is taken in the form of being comfortably numb from a previous evening of high speed traffic dodging on my very rad bicycle aptly named – the Flying Mapache a.k.a. Mapache Volador, a.k.a. The Flying raccoon, beside my very rad Friend Tall P., and yes, moving forward, we change names and add nicknames and what not in order to maintain some privacy for those who might not want me bandying about all manner of personal introspect to everyone in the world…. where was I? Im starting with a story from two days ago, if this is confusing I am truly sorry, if you are a critic of words and how to make ones thoughts sound good, do let me know as I am not…
…yes, going to a very fine eating and drinking establishment whose name completely escapes me right now and not only meeting quite a broad mix of wonderful guys and wonderfully ninja and beautiful ladies and also a brush with a gentleman of indeterminate age and yet of determined tipsy-ness with the courage of spirits mixed with a natural distrust of what I attribute to be a bit of confidence in the air that surrounds me, at any rate, to what he referred to himself as, a “street kid”, which, in my run on sentence structure that is only salvaged from horrific writing skills, style and complete lack of prose, not even knowing what the word really means, Jose Saramago does it, so whatever.
In tribute of respect to street kids, I offer you a Shout Out courtesy of Skrillex=]
I am no longer in possession of his name, the street kid with the ragged green army jacket, an ancient and raggedly greasy looking brownish cabby hat was touched off with a dark red scarf of sorts and decidedly grungy jeans, and, a rare commodity at this bar was his Irish warrior face paint, and of course he had already done a full body flex whilst yelling Im Irish and then arging. You know, like…
“Aaaaarrrrggggghhhh”, and Im thinkin’, he really has delusions, but then, havent many of us… He seriously had face paint and was Braveheart… “Freeeeeeedom!”.
At this point, Im loving my life as it is always so very interesting, and its all from the moments, especially ones with face paint=].
He was adamant about showing me his painting, annoyingly so, and then added with the lack of respect one should show another regardless of station, we are after all all human, we all can go mad, lose or win big, fate reserves no special spots for any save the ones claimed by those who will if only try. Now once he began demanding money and threatening me, then it was time to turn on the boogie machine, but just a lil bit…
I put my right hand into a half fist with the middle knuckle held super tight and smashed the top of his table, which was to my right facing the bar and of course, THE BIG SCREEN TV, this one was yelling a basketball game at me and everyone in the bar would later approve of whatever happened in the game itself, the outcome of the rivalry, everyone that is except for our gay bartender, whom I only found out about him preferring guys over gals was due to a question I innocently asked a guy what he thought of televised sports, to which he replied, “I’m marrying your server.”
It kind of caught me off guard in a good way and that is why it is here on this page.
I forget what he said about televised sports. His now Fiancee and not my bartender but my waiter STILL refused to acknowledge the fact that I do not follow, or have ever, televised sports. I dont know why, it just is…
I hit the table hard enough for “Threatening dude intent on art sale’s” beer to dance a bit precariously and people at the bar either sharply look my way or casually in that obviously casual way at which point I no longer cared as I was following up my vulgar display of power [Pantera] and was now leaning over and what would happen were I to do that in the neck region of a man and besides, he doesnt even know me nor the fact Im just trying to help him tow the line for acceptable public composure so he doesnt get booted out!
That painting was shown to a lot of people and very forcibly so, eventually he nearly broke a bottle of wine and when realizing that it didnt break, he then stowed it in his backpack, now using exposure of theft and ergo ‘blackmail’ and not physical violence, he became much more amenable and ended up being semi well liked by all and leaving with a new pack of cigarettes from one very interesting and obviously wealthy person, a beer on the house, we all got some of that action and he wasnt kicked out which is the last thing his ego needed. He never sold the painting which was of a rose and angel, though I never quite could make it out…
My reasoning for not exposing the wine theft…. It would of course suit his purposes and had enough dust on it that I didnt think it would be missed, so no point in causing a scene=] That I was keeping him calm through blackmail and threat of violence in first place, you may think to yourself, this guy is nuts to be riding for peace, but you have to understand, everyone is on a different path and looks at the world differently, there are times, where i feel i have to vulgar in my power display in order to keep the peace. If my display ever hurts another, at that point I will have failed terribly, so please dont think i would ever do more than allude to what is possible, never will I use it, further, I dont think I ever will have to, Im too much of a Chris for that to happen=]
As far as being a hypocrite, think of how many hypocrysises we suffer daily not in our best interest, all through out history, kind of Like Jefferson Signing the Declaration of Independence though he had slaves, many, many slaves…. Or The Battle of the Alamo, fought becuase the illegal US immigrants who were squatting on MEXICAN land refused to give up thier slaves, which was law in Mexico – no slaves.
But then, thats why you have me doing this, I make the hard decisions and walk/ride the narrowest line in a world where there is no reset button.
We ended up at this particular bar as it is on of the only two that Tall P. knows of that still serve him after he lost his D.L. and has yet to sally forth to claim another.
There was some commotion in the front and we found ourselves doing our best to convince a young lady that two car of lengths ahead of her is more than enough to simply pull out, I was gald she took our advice and the soft crunching, engine whine that repeated rocking the large truck behind hers with her Buick was a decidedly bad idea at the time and made her pinky swear with me that she wouldnt die or kill anyone if she actually would just stop hitting the truck behind her, but gentle hits, like 2 ton love taps asking for just a few more inches for MaMa…
——– real time while writing this ——– My friend Jackies auto air spray thingy just went off, i jump every time now thinking about the time controlled release of toxic chemicals into the air and how we live in a world where the more shallow the more coveted to the point that killing the body to avoid a bad smell is whats up!
We rode home, this time there were no accidents and thats an important part of all this biking stuff…
You can guess the rest, we got back to his place in NE Washington and I slept on my thermarest sleeping pad on the floor in the screened in back porch and rode into downtown DC this am to now stay at Jackies house and consequently a, damn, i cant remember the name for the body contour foam space thing super comfy…
Back to Pauls Thursday I think we are going to do a movie apocalypse and see Star Trek on Thursday and Superman on Friday and then Tom Petty Saturday, oh my hells bells, what a day this is shaping up to be!
But this is from yesterday… We need to go back 5 days…
To the beginning, that sounds kinda cheesy….no?
I arrived in an apartment complex on Oliver street with a super rad host named Danilee – couchsurfing.com, host, very cool if you never tried. I tell you the joy of arriving to a place 83 miles after you started that morning, very cool, and that it was done in Luna Sandals, well, thats Epic.
We immediately began by reducing edges through the power of wine, I think I did some cooking and I know we did Kung Fu and handstands at the wall for around 2 hours including practicing the sword form I learned in Nor Cal from the Escrima style of martial arts. Using my bike stand bamboo pole as the sword, which is the whole point, kickstand and dog be gone in one=]
The next day found us having a brunch with her friend who is marrying a psychiatrist from the Czech republic who is one of the foremost doctors doing research into psychedelics in a very serious way for PTSD victims and achieving huge and most remarkable success. I preface that statement with her husband as he does seem to be remarkable and thats why he got such a HOT girlfriend fiance, congrats and buena fortuna to them!
Good to know…. yes indeedy…
We then dropped her off at Dulles Int’l Aeropuerto and then promptly used our newly commandeered car, to scoot to Silver Spring.
It was a Jazz fest, i learned what party cups were and was happy to be the Designated Driver.
I got to see girls kissing – heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Makes me blush it does….
The next day we met a friend of a friend who just moved here from Lanai – Holla Hawaii!, to be the food and bev manager at 4 Seasons, and then went back to Danilee’s place to fix up her bike at a, get this, it tripped me out, a community TOOL library. I’ve never heard of a community tool library. And yet there it was and was very rad with a huge assortment of all manner of things.
It was like walking into an Amish Craftsman store decorated by a guy who obviously loved punk rock when it was hitting it’s stride in the 80’s, and we’re not going to argue over when punk was started, if you have a different date, rock n roll=] He was a totally chill dude, had some sweet tats, and some mighty fine slick hair with the coif in the front.
I got picked up by Tall P. later that afternoon, little did I know of the events that began to unfold once I stepped into the Volvo wagon of power…
We went to his place to get me settled in, I had my two panniers and the thermarest I wrote of earlier, and upon walking in to his apartment, i was blasted by the odor of ammonia, hit me like a wall, just a clearly divided space in the fabric of everything. I cannot do it justice by comparing it to being somehow akin to going from a complete and total slumber and some how somnabulistically meandering your way to very thin ice.
No, I cannot as it was much worse. It was like a part of me that had never been awake now was awakened and I found I couldn’t handle the ride…
As I began to sneeze, TP – ha! Tee pee get it…
So, he was concerned for my affliction to gatos and I assured him that it was nothing of the sort, while cat dander could evoke a sneeze, it was lost in the haze of almost palpable amonia smell. An overwhelmingly powerful blast.
We decided then I would sleep outside and I would help him get things ship shape, you see, he was in an accident, perhaps the Volvo of power, anyway, his sense of smell was rebooted and never came back online! Like I told him, “Dude, if a chic comes over, she isnt going to last long man, this is withering at best, if she sticks it out, f’ it, marry her or run away cause she’s nuts!”.
perhaps some cranio sacral…
And then off we went, riding like madmen, but at this point we had only given the Water Pipe a test run, just enough to turbo charge the ride…
Hence the ninja like cat reflexes while riding and when the Mapache Volador [my bike] is unburdened, as some of you can imagine, it takes off, I take flight and while I firmly trust and believe the guys at Mt. Gretna Bikes when they told me everything has to be replaced, somehow, I think if i look deeper, while everyhting is not in like new condition, at all, one look at this bike and you see a tried and true, extremely tested machine, one that has endured temps above 120 to below freezing, being thrown into vehicles, dragged through brush, sliding on ice, numerous impacts at speed, being hit by cars – plural, carS and stood being lost at sea for 19 days with no rust upon reentry to rockin and rollin.
The tavern we went to, bless my heart for remembering the name, SHAWS Tavern. Here is where things begin to blossom.
Im totally turned on by the bartender and yet with her extremely stylish haircut mohawk thing, slight gap which I find just right in the front teeth, she did not like guys.
Neither did her partner.
After many beers, many because they were all handcrafted and then brought keg by keg on the backs of ninjas trained in the highest reaches of the fabled Shang Ri La.
The city beyond the last horizon, it was good beer and there were many of them and once I got embroiled in being on the receiving end of some passive aggressive hating while still wanting a tip from Tall P, the vibe was very interesting. Then a met a Doctorate student in some specialty from Iran, very cool young man.
After that, I pretty much remember leaving and then things fuzz a bit, not so much because of the beer so much as what is to come.
Paul would tell me two days later that I was the cornerstone of civility and never once even dared to flirt, which even I find hard to believe, like, I let not a single smile loose in a ‘hey baby’ manner. Yeah right…
Anyway, he’s been the relatively sober upholder of accounts, so, Knight in Shining Armour for one if you please! Good to be maturing, thats for sure=]
Here is where the physical damage to me takes place. My reaction to hearing what happened put out a lot of different emotions, nearly passing out and vomiting was a clue to how bad it actually was=]
We were riding, this time very fast, in fact do you know that some of the fastest cars out there run on crazy high alcohol blends and have blistering speed, apparently so do I after imbibing, so much so that I turned one corner with such momentum that when the pedal hit the ground we both exploded up. I hit the ground and did a kind bounce roll of which I have all manner of scabs directly into a stone wall, P. said that I immediately jumped to my feet and when he asked me if i was alright I would say, …”oh, its all good, you know, round the world ride and all”, at which point I pick up my bike, fall over, get up again, get on, and manage to take two strokes before doing a wheelie right over onto my back and becoming tangled in my bike as it fell on me.
What made all of this worse was the fact that my new Osprey backpack was so very ninja. So ninja in fact that I thought nothing of doing the nights riding with a 20lb bag of kitty litter therein. Its the first bag with the straps and buckles in the right places, everything about it makes carrying weight easy, so then you find yourself cruising around with a lot more weight than normal as it just feels right….. Anyway…
When I went down, the bag added so much momentum to me hitting that i ended up getting road burn on both sides of my body as I bounced. I also now want to take a moment and commend the construction of the Osprey packs, it survived with only some minor road rash holes in the lower right side, and probably saved my back, most of it anyway.
I finally made it up after this fiasco and found I could switch immediately back to my cocksure self and now was weaving all around everything, cars, people, plants, small animals…you name it.
Mr. Darwin, we have a table for one over here on a bike…
Kids, dont try this until you are very old, have all kinds of armor plating and cars are made of cotton candy and rainbow kisses.
It is at this point Mr. P. takes us down an alley of sorts to save me from myself and yet, it is out of the pan into the fire!
You see, we have to ride on a very narrow side walk and at one point there is the brick wall and a sign on a post that you have to go between.
That it is a most precise fit indeed was to be my undoing.
Most choose to walk their bikes, now earlier, I did this at very high speed and it was all good, but, as we know, the Beer Fairy [Tom Robbins, ‘B is for Beer’], had been speaking with me and we agreed about a lot of stuff, so I tried it again.
Have you ever stubbed a toe, or toes, multiple. I have.
There went the air freshner spray thingy again…!
So many in fact that I am a bit of a connoisseur of stubbed toes.
My speed and determination were great and while my lean calculated for the handlebars, it did not take into consideration the lower aspect of my bike and the space it inhabited and all forward momentum was placed on my right big toe when it hit the sign post.
Paul said he heard the crash and immediately came back around the corner and all he saw was the sign vibrating slightly…
I was gone.
Now, if you ever have stubbed your toe you know the pain, any children reading this, a toe stub is one of the most unpleasant things that can happen to your human body. I am not sure why as there is a lot of unpleasantness which can be ascribed to your skin suit, but this is a rare delicacy for some reason, I think the surprise factors in largely, let me know if you reach a conclusion.
I was gone and I can only assume that my body dumped every last minutia of andreline that was stored up and I simply had to go, being in the pain that I was in, that and the fact that only just before this i had wrecked epically and waived it off as a trifle and now, well, I am most gratified and thankful to my body for completely blanking out the next couple hours and retroactively blanking out time and then bringing me back nice and easy, not to mention thankfully still a mite tipsy.
I then felt that what the night needed was a clue, as I obviously had none what so ever.
So when I spied three young very pretty ladies hanging out on their porch with one studious looking gentleman, I felt that obviously, right, obviously, I needed to introduce myself and apparently hang out, smoke a little herb, therapeutic you understand, for the toe and now whole body bruising and have a glass or two of wine.
And copious amounts of water, afterall, I lost a lot of blood from my toe and had to get fluid back in me!
The toe, the amount of blood that came out of a stubbed toe of this magnitude is epic, like someone pulled a damn plug on the body and you are on your way out a pint a minute.
I ended up with my LUNA SANADAL being full of dried blood, my foot was dried blood and the top 1/2 inch of my toe is hanging on by a flap of skin.
They were all cool with the crazed, lost, bloody, absolute stranger on a bike and why shouldnt they be, I mean, they are only going to Howard to be high falutin lawyers and doctors, I know I would be whatever with a watching a bloodied version of me, i would run a little bit Im guessing.
We hung out for a while, more drinks, lots of stories and then when the last of them went to bed, I was offered the chance to sleep on their porch, even given a sheet, warm nights, woulda been perfect, I didnt want them to be the only house with a dude on the porch, so I split.
still no clue where I am, So Im just riding and next thing I find myself looking at the capitol from a near distance, in my head I believe it went something like… whoa, there’s that building. Such a pillar of thought that one.
For the next 3-6 hours, I am having trouble verifying and pinning down some key times, I rode around, in and through every angle I could lay a bead on as the streets were literally mine.
I dont know if you have ever visited our fair nations capitol, I had but remember it dimly, I only remember the girl flashing her breasts at the four of us elementary schooler’s from her dorm lodging across the way. School tour=]
if you are like me and maybe a lil bit cautious around “the Man”, then perhaps, like me you would not find this a pleasing place to while away the hours.
I now must beg to differ. You see, this bike ride is on deserted streets, and with the amount of patrol cars, marines and barricades all around, you would think it was a set from a zombie apocalypse movie, just no zombies, nobody really.
Top that off with big streets, incredibly well made, these are avenues for the capitol of the country! And when you then rest your gaze on some of the most powerful masonry work in our country, it is a sight to behold and thanks to the beauty of the whole situation, the marines and police, whom while watchful, gave out head nobs and a measured respect which made for all the better of a tour de DC!
I recommend the tour de DC while comfortably numb from 2.30-around 5.
Its a wonderful thing to be cruising on a bicycle and watching the corridors of power come to life. I saw The Lincoln Monument, George Washington Monument, it was all in scaffolding and no longer represented a phallus so much, the IRS building, Capitol Hill, White House, it was rad and the use of all those “names” now brings this blog under scrutiny… Im riding amongst all these are fortresses, amazing grand structures that invoke an other worldliness about them, a sheer break from scale in how massive they are, as though they seek to copy the zen imprint of a mountain. Again, the streets are empty of people, its a blessing for a person on a bike that loves roads.
There came at one point, where I was just riding around a city block in the downtown area near the Capitol building, it was some kind of park and the the way the streets flowed around it it was like a park in a flat surface velodrome, too complicated, the roads formed a track and there I was doing circuit riding, faster and faster with every pass, I expect that seeing as I was truly the only non paramilitary should for a mile at least, I must have been on quite a few cameras attached to lots of 3 letter companies filled wit company men.
As the sun began to rise the city came to life, it was magical in its own way, these massive blocks of stone, modern day super fortresses, slowly breathing in and out, faster and faster as the sun climbs and lattes spill and the powder of health donuts with reduced calories vanish three at a time all over town.
I rode around the “Ellipse” many, many, many times… it was just so velodramus, wat could I do? Ni modo!
At this point, having had no success in raising either Jacqueline [ignored me] or Paul [phone “dead”] from borrowed cell phones, I decided to get a hostel at Hostelling International, which was very epic indeed and the staff was super friendly, to include some of the texts to my friends like this gem:
5.30am – Chris in my lobby can you pick him up from 1009 11st NW. he also have his bike
I got a room when the day managers came in at 6, gave me a whole two days for the price of one, sweet, although I would eventually track down Jackie as I went straight to the computer and then she replied and it turns out I was only two blocks away from her place… sweet!
The clerk offered me a refund as I had only been there for 15 minutes and a vegan sub at subway, happy boy=]
Im seeing the light. Its all about truly seeing and then seizing the moment. Like our Kung Fu mantra Danilee and I tirelessly repeated, “No Hesitation!”.
As long as I fill my days with intense exercise [half of them at least, the other half for reminding myself why I push myself so hard=], speaking to others and trying to guide situations to every ones best benefit, always keeping safe kids and happy planet as a goal and making everything a potential adventure. I cannot fail to be a player in a the huge Game of Life and to be a player for “good”. none of us can fail, we simply need to become re-invigorated, to realize that the moments tat are passing you by are gone FOREVER, you cannot wait till such and such a date to do this and that, you arent even guaranteed to be alive!
All your moments are leading up to one final moment. The last moment of your life and no mater what is happening hduring your final moment, you will see all moments that have made an impact on your life to that point. It is that final moment where we send OURSELVES to heaven or hell, we regret what we did with the time given to us or we rejoice and go with a smile. Either way, it is our call, it is up to us each day to prepare for this one moment in time where we learn a big answer to a huge question.
Not so easy to plant, trees take ten years to grow… BUT, they are super cheap to buy, either in the actual pod form which are fun to pull apart or the pre-separated tamarind pulp. Taste is nice and sweet, but not overly sweet, loaded with vitamins and nutrients, considered medicinal.
Great with lime juice and some cayenne. This is one of the primary ingredients for the sauce in Pad Thai!
Grows like a weed, seriously, it grows so easily, try some in your backyard, you cold be pleasantly surprised! Young plants, from 2 to 8 inches can be used whole in smoothies as a super food.
As they get larger, use the leaves and compost the stem, once they start to seed, all the ninja vibe has gone to that part of the plant so wait till they are ready to harvest and eat.
Once harvested, clean them, or buy store bought and then cook as you would rice, but they take about half the time!
Considered a complete protein, meaning it has all the necessary amino acids, alkaline, no one really has an allergy to it that I know of, chap to buy and again, easy to grow!
Again, grows like a weed, young plants, from 2 to 8 inches can be used in smoothies as a super food. as they get larger, use the leaves in salads or as a steamed dish which tastes great with a little tamari/soy/braggs and pepper, or whatever you would normally season your steamed veggies with, once they start to seed, all the ninja vibe has gone to that part of the plant so wait till they are ready to harvest and eat.
The seeds can most effectively be eaten by popping them. They will resemble tiny popcorns but are spheres. hey have little to no taste and can therefore be added to ANYTHING you wish to supercharge with vitamins, minerals and protein.
Allow your skillet to get very hot, add a few hand fulls of seeds, they will be tiny, cover and check often. Add to anything. Depending on the country, you can buy pre-popped amaranth extremely inexpensively.
Another year is about to be forever lost to the sands of the hourglass and be written off as history. For many the passing will come with some form of alcohol induced revelry, for others it will be a most somber moment and for most, it will be nothing more than a day or two of reflection and over the counter pain meds for the hangover, but what if it were different?
What if we use this particular Neuvo Ano [New Year for those who are particularly language challenged] as a milestone in our lives, something that come next New Years, we will be able to look back and have even more incentive to push forward to the future?
For most of us the cycle that we call life is nearly fixed, only being changed when forces beyond us cause the change, we lose a job or get a promotion, we become sick, we have an accident, get into a relationship or get out of one. How about driving the change from within for this year?
This will, for me, mark the first New Years that I will endeavor to make a concerted and conscious effort to become more than what I am today. To be that man I for now only dream of. I share it with you as what I hold dear to my dreaming self is noble enough for anyone who may want to question it and it is my mission to share most all of my life to help and assist you in doing that which you may ordinarily deign as a flight of fancy or some silly whimsy. Obviously if I can pull it off, anyone can, that’s the reason for sharing.
What is life if not full of mystery and dreams, what is the point if we cannot hope for real magic in our lives? Should we content ourselves with the search for financial stability and possibly a partner as a be all and end all?
As children did we not often seek a thrill by doing that which we were expressly forbid. Entering rooms that were off limits, sneaking under the broken fence to explore the abandoned house, going off into the woods, getting lost and sometimes being lost on purpose… where did those days go and if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven as a child, then what are we but hypocrites who call other adults childish and demand that our youth grow up quicker? God tells me one thing and my boss and parents another!
At some point I purposely laid this aspect of myself to rest. The zest of life was packed in an air tight jar and slowly forgotten together with the other spices in the back of the pantry only to shine once every so often when I find myself searching for that something, my eyes momentarily lighting upon my lust for life, now covered with a thin film of dust, so long forgotten I am no longer even certain of what it is I am looking at, and yet, on some deeper level, I know that if I only opened that jar, all would be well, but even this has been bred out of us by our daily lives and the slow crush of routine which spells death through normalcy. A slow kind of slavery if you will, with no one apparent master, so insidious in its indoctrination by all that we surround ourselves with, and find ourselves surrounded by since our very birth. Almost like a huge corporation, that upon reaching a certain size, it nearly runs itself. To big in scope and reason to point a finger at any one person to lay blame for what it does, as even those in its innermost workings eventually are lost to the greater ideal of the company.
This is where I lose my way, my voice in life. Lost in the cacophony of the small and tedious, the seemingly huge responsibilities which are no more our own that those things we do in order to continue breathing and living with “things”.
Everything has a price to be paid, a membership fee, a dress code and a way of speaking that is particular to it, from “The Old Boys Club”, to the Local 284, The Masons, The hippies, Potheads, Gangsters, everyone has a price to be in that game, every game its own rules and jargon. Whatever game you find yourself in, its because you choose to pay the price and play the game. If you do not like it, you must follow the rules and get out, or you must be smarter and more clever. Either way, you must recognize the overall idea and then choose which games to play and which ones to not even glance in the direction of.
So, where does that diatribe leave me…? It leaves me in the self help section of our local bookstore looking for yet another book to read and then possibly ponder, give away or shelve as I found such gems of wisdom therein, highlighted, dog eared and yellow stickied…. Until the next self help book comes along, and I do it all again.
Lets break the cycle and actually DO some of the things I tell myself I will do someday, for what is it I am actually waiting on in order to enact these rights of passage that will set free my bonds of self imposed misery? What moment am I truly waiting for if not now? Its one of the most elusive drugs of our time and station in life. If you are reading this, there is an incredibly high chance that you live in relative luxury. Of course, such things are relative to be sure, and yet, you are fed, and for whatever reason, you have a computer, internet, and as you are reading this, you have time to surf the net for semi important things and not life or death things.
In fact, there is no one shooting at you right now, do you have any idea how many children wish they could say the same. As they walk miles for dirty drinking water.
Make this the year you actually ENACT you resolution. Make this the year you will keep your RESOLVE.
Enough, plenty of blah blah time later! Time for MY resolutions and they will be thought of by me as SEEDS. My reasoning is that all seeds have a specific set of instructions inherent to them, that, if followed will yield results. Just like all games, seeds are another game, a set of rules, use of jargon and tools particular to them.
The results will be based upon my personal influence over my own mind and body. The stronger I bend my will to whatever “seed” I have planted, the easier it will be for the fruits of my labor to be sweet beyond measure. In planting a seed, I must ensure that the individual seeds planted do not over grow the rest of the garden, or, that depending on the season and time, the space and condition of the soil, I do not upset any overall balances. Paying attention to the growth of the seed into plant, keeping balance, always keeping a balance.
I am seeking to make changes that will best effect my overall experience in life. If our personality and responses to things are the basis for all we are, than a more quality life may only be achieved through the fundamental reconstruction of our minds, that is what this year will hold for me.
1. Re establish base point for emotional response – So what does that mean. It means that when I lose my wallet as I did the other day I will not resort to calling myself names and deciding that I wish Id been aborted rather than adopted. Its unnecessary at the very least, at its worst, it is more corrosive than having battery acid shoved up ones own ass. Truly, a keen sense of baseline when it comes to responses is key, for what is it that sets us apart from our heroes? Why is James Bond the man when it comes to diffusing a nuclear weapon with 5 minutes on the clock, precisely because he is – Cool Under Fire. Now I use this as an extreme example, but tone that most will be able to identify with. That I completely lost my marbles when I thought I lost my wallet, and however well intentioned my anger may potentially have been, after all, it is quite a thing to get a new drivers license from Hawaii while in Mexico with very little cash, in fact, you cannot imagine. All of that being said, we must be ever vigilant when it comes to justification, rationalization, all of these will enable our behaviors, but will not help us be free of their destructive consequences on those around us.
As emotions are thoughts turned into actual chemicals by the body, this is a crucial element to be in control of. It is the essence of all our lives if we were to boil it down to a purpose, and so it shall be my beginning.
All of this is well and good, but, what do we do about it, I may as well be lassoing a tornado or driving a herb of Northern Mexico Spotted Prairie Chihuahuas! While true in one sense, on the other hand, it is a most easy process, so easy in fact that it has been practiced by nearly all the world in one for or other since the dawn of time. From religion to Martial arts, meditation is a key ingredient, there is no master, be they good or evil that doesn’t practice the meditative arts. There is my beginning, a minimum of 10 minutes per day of sitting meditation. Why sitting, because it is uncomfortable for me and I do not like it per sey, ergo, that is where I will begin.
Another aspect of this, and a potential source for my destructive behavior, is what I allow into my mind. Unfortunately, I love action and movies with rather high amounts of violence and yet, what do I truly gain from said films? At best, a brief sojourn from reality, at worst, some deep and systematic re programming of who I am as an individual. Many people do not wish to lay blame on these forms of entertainment – video games, movies, TV shows, and yet we know, based on the collected science of Big Industry, that even 30 seconds, if crafted right, will exert a huge influence over the average person. Case in point, advertising. A Super Bowl Commercial is worth many millions of dollars these days due to its ability to get a person to buy the product. Why would we assume that there is any difference with a TV Show or Movie? Because we don’t want to believe there is a difference as we are not ready to do without. Well, we must all choose our own lives and what we want them to look like, so, this is gong to be mine. It has been shown by lab tests and scientists the world over that the mind changes, quite literally simply by watching violence. Well, if what we seek is a world of Peace and if what I want to be is a harbinger of said Peace, I have only one option. Drop my amount of media intake in the form of TV [shows and NEWS] and movies with violence to nil.
Meditation is now scientifically, I always love when facts are scientifically proven, then you have to really be a purposefully ignorant person to continue to spit in the face of the fact, and has been the key vessel for enlightenment since man begin to scratch marks on stone and call it history.
How Implemented – Meditate daily for at least 10 minutes. Decrease the amount of violence I see on a daily basis, i.e. cut out violent movies and TV shows [includes News, there is nothing there that I need to know as I am part of its cause].
2. Focus on Martial arts ad Breathing, one and the same – The magic is in the breathing, that is the moment that the intangible becomes tangible. Imagine, and yes, I know that you know the air is made of particles and vis a vis, is not made of nothing, no, I don’t mean intangible in the sense of a vacuum, simply put, to the naked eye, the pavement of concrete under ones feet strongly makes an impression of safety, where if a person were to walk on a sidewalk made of air at 1000 feet, another set of feelings entirely, for most, would arise.
So it is here that martial arts and especially those arts which are considered internal, are for me the most powerful. They teach one to control the most fundamental alchemy that every living thing does, respirate, even the planet respirates, once you learn this single naked truth and see it for the true wonder that it is, you have planted a seed, you must now simply follow through with various practices to see your seed mature into a most powerful thing.
Planting the seed is a key, writing it to paper is a key, committing to a goal and then making it public is a key, it is in fact a key which causes the most consternation and war, or peace and prosperity, for we make the plantings of seeds in our promises on a personal, group, national and global level. Empires fall because of broken words, people are freed because of kept words.
How Implemented – Daily Kung Fu – choosing from Bagua Zhang, Tai Chi, or Xing Yi. I know the basics of all three, according to all my teachers throughout my life, he who studies the basics for a lifetime is a master in the end. I will never have that answer if I never implement the practice.
3. Stay in the Moment – many of these I realize are interconnected, but even as the roots and the tree limbs are interconnected, they must still be focused on individually or there will be no fruit.
Staying in the moment is part of breathing, obviously, too many moments without breath and there will be moments no more. But what does it really mean to stay in the moment?
It is not as some may think the act of not thinking, for this is only possible to minds that have transcended even using Facebook, no it is the art of not following a thought. For example, Mr. Bond falls from a ledge, in one moment he has the thought of what awaits him at the bottom, death by splat. NOW, at this point, many people will become fixated on this thought, the death by splat, they will be completely focused on it and will think of nothing else except the splat up to the moment of the splat at which point thinking will cease of its own accord due to damage of the machine doing the thinking.
So here’s the rub, not following the thought to its logical end, staying in the moment, not wishing you hadn’t been pushed over [past thinking], not focused on the splat [future], but there in the moment and BINGO, grabbing the flagpole on the way down, swinging in through the window and kicking ass.
Being in the moment isn’t about not having thoughts, thoughts come constantly, its about which thoughts to follow, which ones will be kept and which are let to pass. If not for our ability to think, we would be lost as a species and as individuals. In thinking, we are constantly shown answers to every question, need and desire that come into our lives. For many of us, we grab at the first thought that comes to mind and then follow it, blocking out all other thoughts, therein lies the problem. We are using the machine incorrectly, much like the T.V. which can show us so many different things and yet many of choose to watch drivel. Originally hailed as the great savior, it is now the great seller. The same can be said of our thought processes. Choose to only focus on the most helpful of thoughts time and time again, helpful to my overall aim and I shall be a master.
How implemented – Again, meditate, when moving around in life on a daily basis, focus on the breath and use the adage of every moment is a teacher to the fullest. This may be one of the more abstract New years goals I have set for myself, and yet, one of the most important, for there can be no super HEROES in those that lose the moment.
4. Discontinue Use of Alcohol – This is a tough one for me as I love it. That being said, I also have a literal laundry list of scientific, spiritual and a whole host of common sense reasons why it simply is not for me any longer.
How implemented – Simple, dont drink alcohol, nor take up time explaining why not=]
5. My diet is fairly precise and I am happy with it, BUT, there is an aspect I would like to change, late night snacking! – I’m vegan, I rarely eat sugar and am not bullied into eating anything except what I want by anyone, until its my own mind of course…
One of the hardest habits I have is the late night snack. Now, while seemingly innocuous, I assure you the devil is in the details. For one, a late night snack is usually just before bed or somewhere in the midst of dream time. As you may or may not know, the stomach best serves the resting body when EMPTY. When full, one of two things, well, two that I am aware can happen.
A. The body does not rest, and instead goes through the process of digestion. This of course is debilitating as now I am not getting my rest, not getting rest is so deadly that it is one of the most fundamentally used forms of torture.
B. The body decides to shut down. I get my rest, but now I have a lump of food literally rotting in my gut all night. This now becomes a lump of yuck that must be expelled from the body, and that takes a lot of energy to get rid of. So now I am losing energy, and lots of it simply to get rid of food that was eaten for no purpose other than to make my tongue happy for a moment.
How implemented – Don” t eat past 8pm unless I am on some mission and haven’t eaten in days and etc etc etc, if the situation arises, I will deal with it then.
That there will be more to come to my mind as the day progresses, of course, I will add them as I see fit. For now, this will give me plenty to work on and the results will be pretty spectacular. I am happy for anyone to share theirs with me and I am open to suggestions and of course, have advice to share with you as well should you ask.
The world isn’t saving itself, or, better, it WILL BEGIN to start saving itself and that is when things will get increasingly difficult for us as human beings. If not now, when?
If we look at our lives in some way that makes the daily choices we make more tangible in how they affect us long term and those around us, life will become infinitely more interesting and functional. For this reason I leave you with the analogy of a book, or, for those who disdain such pursuits in lieu of Television, well, any long term TV show will do.
In any decent Book or TV show, there are story lines. The story lines start when one of the characters in said story makes a choice about something. These choices usually branch out in many ways both seen and unseen to not only us, but the characters in the story. How often have I been blown away when a character, or choice comes up from last season, or from chapter 2 only to show again in chapter 25, having been seemingly forgotten all this time, but now, BOOM, there it is, now a pinnacle of the entire story upon which everything else, even that which was thought to be much more important, now rests.
So it is with our lives. They are stories, you are the writer. Unless you keep your choices simple and succinct, you may end up with an unmanageable heft of various story lines that are now beginning to write themselves as you are no longer able to maintain them, so, as with anything that involves others, they begin to take on lives of their own, which in turn greatly impact our lives, for they are of our story!
As you go through your days, remember this, PLEASE, every choice you make, even the most minute of those choices at the time, could very easily be the biggest life changer ever, and, just as possible, the greatest of choices can easily end up being dust in the wind, not worth the time you spent thinking on it. Choose wisely and your life will show it, choose poorly and such is the story you write of your life.
Aloha and a very Happy New Year to you, may you choose wisely, and may YOU choose often that which alters your life for the good or the bad and blessed is the person who doesn’t judge until the end=]
I am very pleased to have the honor of introducing you all to Ms. Carla Serrano our Ninja Chef and Nutritionist Extraordinaire!
She began her culinary career as a holistic nutrition coach, but her desire to create appealing, healthy food coupled with variety (outside the norm of salads and green drinks), inspired her to devote an ever increasing time to the culinary arts. While all styles of food have their place nutritionally, she noticed the disciplinary struggle within herself and her clients. Simply put, she just wasn’t having fun being so strict!
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she moved to New York City 15 years ago. She traded in her corporate job to do what she loves and now devotes herself full-time to teaching about healthy food preparation and nutrition to a wide range of individuals and organizations. Her most recent adventure was living 3 months in Buenos Aires teaching culinary nutrition as well as catering events at the coveted Punta del Este in Uruguay.
Her company, The Raw Kitchen NYC Catering & Events is dedicated to making healthy food creative, enjoyable, colorful and fun. When she’s not working she’s most likely to spend her time in Puerto Rico or with her daughter in Alaska.
And now a few words from Carla –
I’m Carla, a natural and raw food chef, founder of The Raw Kitchen Catering & Events, world inspired natural cuisine. Travel is where I get my ideas. Life is where get my inspiration. My kitchen is eclectic with flirty colors, flavors and textures we often crave. For the past decade I have devoted myself to reinventing our favorite foods in a guiltless way- perfect for a party and adaptable enough for the health conscious.
I challenge my cuisine to be creative, upbeat, fun, traditional, transitional and inspirational. Often raw, mostly vegan, gluten-free, always free of refined sugars and organic when at all possible. I guess you could say I do like a challenge!
YES! So what does all this mean for you…?
A whole new way look at health and fitness based on the “Still not Rocket Science” of you are what you eat, coupled with flexibility and great ingredients with a serious look at health. As many of you know, I prefer the vegan diet for many reasons. I also know that I am only one man in this world, and my thoughts do not constitute a reality for everyone, much the opposite in fact! I am trusting that Ms. Serrano will be able to bring more health into the lives of those of you who do not wish to be vegan at this time, and yet still want the benefits of a great food!
Aloha and Bon Appetite!
Passion moon potions is the work of a wonderfully lady and represents the rhythm of the Hawaiian Islands, Peace, Love and Aloha! She has been kind enough to make us a Ninja Soap, which you may click on to help us out on our ride. She has fantastic line of homemade products, you are sure to find something for YOU! ALOHA!
YES! Thats the easiest way to get you into my frame of reference concerning these here sandals which are based on the Tarahumara sandal design –
The company started by Barefoot Ted McDonald in 2006 or so and has grown steadly to have a sweet variety of sandals from Vegan to Dead Animal to Hemp and all of them rock as best we can tell from our personal experience and the experience of others and reading reviews online.
I am the only one currently using Lunas’ on our ride and they work great for pedaling long distances as my feet are FREE! I am super stoked about the addition of Ergon Pedals [review coming] to my bike making use of Vibrams and Lunas’ so much smoother.
I had never really thought of a sandal as a running shoe, but hey, Im just one guy, learning as quick as I can. I walked in them for about a month before using them on runs in order to break them in and for me to really get a chance to learn about them thereby avoiding any aches and sprains…. smart ninja… I have run, walked, balanced precariously on slick stones in the ocean and ridden some miles on my bike. These rock and are a great suuplement to those of us who want the benefit of barefoot health and yet are still too lazy to cut up an old tire and make thier own=]
As for now, the best I can say is that these are my favorite footwear. Second of course are my Vibrams, another minimalist shoe that was the brainchild of Barefoot Ted and the Vibram CEO Tony Post. As with the Vibram, the cost is relatively high for the amount of material used, but thats the breaks for being healthy in this day and age. Given the money the average person spends on alcohol and various other things which do naught but bring down our bodies, these would be a wise investment indeed.
I havent used them for long distance runs as i still am happy to do those on the beach. Once I get some real miles on these flippy floppies, ill be able to give those of you who are more avid runners better feedback. For now, know these are rad and check out what others runners are saying about them online, this may well be the next evolution in your running game.
The Ninjapalooza was a success. We didn’t got the number of people we expected and that threw us a bit out of balance, at the same time it was an opportunity to re-evaluate our motivations and goals. For me the most regarding aspect of the whole event was being able to share with others some of my passions: healthy delicious food, local artisan wine and beer, raw young talent, yoga, music and dance… sweet!!
And two stars of the night were for sure Daiya and Tofurky being super ninja kind to send us a load of cheese and sausages for our pizzas. If you haven’t tried Daiya cheese I strongly recomend it!! It stretches, meltes and TASTES like cheese, plus is completely free of lactose, casein, soy, gluten and preservatives, sweet!
Pizza is actually an easy dish to make, most people, my past-self included! are intimidated by pizza, specially making the pizza dough not knowing you can have it all ready in the same time that it will take the delivery guy to knock on your door, plus by making it yourself you get to choose the ingredients, not just for the toppings but for the salsa and crust too, making it vegan, gluten free, wheat free and all of that if you want… We did 🙂 and here’s how..
It’s a good idea to have some premade tomato sauce in your fridge. You can make a huge pot on the weekend and freeze it for days until you need it. There are many recipes for tomato sauce, here we have a super tasty one from the Salsa Master Chris on a lasagna recipe, you can vary what you want by adding some of your favorite herbs, a bit of red wine, more or less garlic, you decide!! Go crazy, be creative, as long as you’re using natural organic ingredients you will only be making it healthier!
For the crust you will need 2 cups of flour, we like to go wheat free, just keep in mind not all flours behave the same and many wheat alternatives are heavier or harder so you need to think what kind of crust you want. Keep the heavy ones for thin crunchy crusts, the soft ones for a fluffy, pan pizza type of crusts. For the Ninjapalooza we wanted the most similar to the classic pizza to show people you really can have all the foods that you love when you’re vegan so at least sacrifice, it’s NOT an excuse! 🙂 so we went for 1 1/2 cups spelt flour and 1/2 cup oat bran, then add one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon sugar, one tablespoon instant yeast and three tablespoons olive oil. Slowly begin adding warm water and incorporating to the dough, you will need about one cup of water but this can vary so go for the consistency adding little by little more water if you need to. The temperature is important too, you don’t want it too cold because the yeast won’t react, but also not too hot or the yeast will die, keep it warm, comfortable to the touch and by the time you’re done kneading it should be soft, fluffy and a little sticky. Cover it with a little more flour so you can work it and stretch it on the pizza pan, put a some more flour at the bottom so it doesn’t sticks to the pan and stretch it as much as you want, you decide how big you want you pizza!
Now add the salsa on top and go crazy with what ever toppings you want. We had bell peppers, olives, tons and tons of Tofurky various sausages ALL super tasty, onions, zuccinni, different type of mushrooms, eggplant, herbs and yesssss, Daiya cheese: mozzarella, cheddar and Jack pepper… into the oven and nom nom… serve it with some nutritional yeast on top and crushed red pepper. To drink? some Horchata Obscura for us!!