Signing Off

As you’ve probably  noticed, there is a severe lack of updates here on Precious Metal. 5 years into this blog, I’ve decided, it’s time to officially sign off and move on.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing this blog, and most importantly interacting not only with the readers, but the rest of the Buddhist blogosphere. I’ve hit a point in my life, lately, and have decided the best thing to do, for me, is to close up shop. I am leaving the blog, and all the previous posts, up as an archive.

The past five years have been pivotal to my being the person I have become. Without this blog, and your help, I could not have gotten here. So, thank you for all the support and kind words throughout the years. Many of you know my e-mail address or are on my Facebook. I am happy to stay in contact, and am even happier to have known you in the past, present and future.

Thanks to everyone who has ever commented, guest posted, sent items for review, etc. I appreciate everything!

Onward and upward!!

The only failure is not trying!!

We all know change is inevitable, by the time this post is finished, even by the time this sentence is finished, change will have happened. There are those inescapable, concrete moments of change, and then there are the one’s we choose to make.

Over the past few months, I’ve come to terms with the unavoidable changes, as a matter of fact I have learned to embrace them. But, one major factor in my life, now, is striving for bigger shifts in attitude specifically.

I’ve always been the type of person the just allowed things to happen organically, to not buck against it and just be content with the inevitability of it all. I would happily just sit on my little raft, floating down the river of complacency expecting things to change, as they always do and just coping with what happened. I’ve learned, recently, that same sense of complacency was not getting me anywhere but the same place I started. Living this cyclical existence has not been enough for me. As I raise my fist in the air, revolting against the very idea that we should just “be” and let this life unfold, I also scream from the bowels of my gut that I refuse to sit on that raft any longer, as a matter of fact I am pushing that raft ashore and setting the damned thing ablaze!!

Life’s too short for that crap. There are so many moments that can be embraced, to make those changes, but we tend to believe those things are too hard or that we can’t accomplish the task so we don’t even bother to put in the effort. I emplore you to put that brain chatter to rest, to flip that raft over, and try. You’d be amazed at the things you can do and accomplish with even the least bit of effort. The only failure is not trying.

I’ve lived my life in the comfort of complacency for to long. If I have an idea, from here on out, I am doing it. If I want to do this, I am doing it. I am setting goals that I was scared of in the past. I refuse to sit idly by and let this life pass without making it meaningful. I resist the implication that we should just be happy with the way things are. To be honest, I am sick and tired of this idea that we should just let go, to somehow coexist in a manner that we have no control of. Pardon the language, but fuck that! Yes, there are things beyond our control, but there are many moments I can, and will, control.

I am the change I want.

I am the man in the mirror.

I will not sit by and let life pass me by!!!

Perspective

I’ve always had this perspective that folks that go to a gym were “meatheads”. You know, the “Lift things up and put them down” type? Or, that they were all gerbils running round and round on the treadmill, climbing the stairs that never actually go anywhere or were shuffling away on an elliptical without a destination in mind. While I can’t say 100% I was wrong, but I will admit, for the most part, I am dead wrong.

I’ve regularly been going to a gym. It was daunting at first, being all of 140lbs at 5′ 5″. A good cross section of the members dwarfed me in size, but I was/am there for one goal. I am looking to not only get my body in shape, so I feel better physically, but mentally as well. I would love to add a few pounds, maybe, just maybe not worry about what my skinny ass looks like when I go to the beach with my kids in the summer.

Guess what, those “meatheads” and “gerbils” are there to do the same thing! Maybe some of those “meatheads” put off that they have the mental aptitude of a raisin, but that doesn’t mean anything more than they are focused on one thing, building muscle and getting fit. Isn’t that the same thing I’m doing?

Considering some of the statistics on obesity in this country, I think a good section of the people should be awarded for getting their rear ends off the couch. I mean, what are we really projecting out there to the world? How do you want people to view you? Honestly, I don’t care what others think, I’m hard enough on myself, but that’s beside the point I’m trying to make here. The point is, my perspective is changing dramatically, as each day passes. I’ve been rather judgmental my whole life, and am trying to get past that.

I used to look at fit people as being fanatics, a different breed. The fact of the matter is, they are, they are a breed that actually give two shits about their health and are doing something about it. But, they are not only affecting and or inspiring themselves to push on, they are inspiring people like myself. The trickle down is that our children, I hope, see the way we are treating ourselves and might actually mimic that. I know my kids would rather stay home and play the Wii all day, but they need to remain active. What better way than to show them that path?

This past weekend I went to an expo and volunteered some time for the Spartan Race, who had set up a booth. Everyone was getting people into it, talking it up, etc. My boys were passing out info, talking up the fact they were signed up for the Jr Spartan Race, they also hit the deck and were doing burpees. You can easily google that! At the booth we threw out a challenge to those walking by to do as many burpees in 2 minutes and they would win a free race. Anyway… after the race the Street Team Director for the Spartan Race made my boys honorary members of the Street Team, and said they had inspired him to set up an exclusive Street Team just for Jr Spartan Race participants. This made my boys glow, smiles from ear to ear!! It’s the little things.

Maybe someday someone might call me a “gerbil” or “part of the machine”, I doubt they will call me a “meathead” at my size. But, I am ok with that. Because I feel good about myself, my body is no longer crying out for exercise, quite the opposite. It embraces the suck it goes through. It might complain the next day, but it, and I, love every minute of it. See you later, off to the gym now….

Get Up!

This post is inspired by a song I’ve been stuck on lately, for some reason I can’t get this song out of my head. The song, “Get Up”, is a collaboration between the nu-metal band Korn and the dubstep act Skrillex.  I know, it’s not death metal, but there’s a message in it that has got me thinking a bit lately. I’ve been kind of a debbie downer because of certain things going on in my life. At first, I really related to the following lyrics…

Times are looking grim these days
Holding on to everything
It’s hard to draw the line
And I, I’m hiding in this empty space
Tortured by my memories
Of what I left behind

I would just mope around, poor me… Why is this happening to me? Boo hoo!

But, after listening to the song, especially the chorus— I realized the message was not about feeling bad for yourself. Those lyrics goes something like…

Shut the f#$k up, get up!

Jonathan Davis, lead singer of Korn, was not just saying it, he was yelling it at the top of his lungs. I could swear he was yelling these words right in my direction.

It felt like he was just grabbing me by the collar and smacking me in the face. Like he was saying “get up… stop feeling sorry for yourself.. get over yourself and do something…”

Looking into the mirror, I don’t see a sorry person.

I look in the mirror and see someone who is strong, resolved and brushing himself off.

There is no time like the here and now to get up, no time like the present to make the changes that need to be made. I can’t sit around hoping and mumbling mantras that somehow the cosmic forces of the universe are going to make it ok. Because, no-one or no thing can make the change, it’s up to me.

So, no more moping, it’s nothing but forward motion from here on out.

Fine Tuning The Body, Reconnecting With The Mind

For the past few months, while my mind may not have been so tuned in on a practice level, I’ve been working quite a bit on my body. I was feeling lethargic, easily beaten down when doing anything physical, basically I was out of shape.

As you read in my recent post “Running Is As Running Does”, or maybe you didn’t, I have been running a bit. That has not been the only physical activity I’ve done. I have been doing a workout program called P90X, I am sure by now you’ve all heard of it. Working out at home is perfect for me, a gym is not a place where I plan to go, not only because I do not fit the mold of the “lift things up and put them down” guys but because most of them are outrageously priced. I was able to get P90X for a very reasonable cost from someone on Craigslist.

At first I thought, this can’t possibly work, it’s just another infomercial scam. I put my initial thoughts about it aside though and gave it my all. The first day, the chest and back workout, kicked my behind. That is putting it lightly, I was sore as hell the next day. I was invigorated though so I went about the second day, the plyometrics workout. Plyometrics, or jump training, is to the wall cardio style. Not only are you jumping, you are running in place, etc. Needless to say, the next day not only was my chest and back still sore, but my legs were wasted.

I am just about at the end of the 90 days and I have to say this, I have never, EVER, been in good physical condition as I am now. 15 or so years ago, I did have a workout partner and we went to a gym, but I never felt this good. At age 37 it’s quite impressive, to me at least.

Lately, I’ve finally been able to make some time to start up a sitting practice again. Because of the fitness, I feel like my sessions are stronger than they were before. My form is a little better and my mind feels in tune with my body because of that. My breathing, because of all the cardio and relentless exercise, has become more refined and is easier to follow.

I am really starting to understand the mind/ body connection, I guess I never really gave it much thought before. It is extremely important to this practice. Once again, I have come back to the beginning of all of this practice stuff. Each time, I come back to it with a fresh approach. This time, it feels a bit more organic, and things are a bit more in tune. I hope you enjoy this post.

I’m Thankful 2011

First and foremost, a Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May your day be filled with joy, laughter and full bellies as you spend quality time with family and friends.

I am thankful for many things this year, but am concentrating on the basics. I’m thankful for family, friends and my job.

My direct family, and extended family are close knit. we may not see one another everyday, or even close to once a month, but when and if they are called upon, they are there like true family members should be. Their unconditional love has got me through many of cloudy days. I hope that I can repay them someday with the kindness they have always shown me.

My friends, while a small group of folks, are really important to me. We are a support network that is undeniable. They know I’m there for them, as I know I am there for them.

I am extremely thankful for my job. Without it, life would be nearly impossible to live. But, it’s not just about the money. I work, as you know, for one of the largest cable providers in the US. They are a phenomenal company to work for. Not only do they care about their customers, but they truly and honestly care about their employees. The opportunities are huge, and if you are willing to work they are willing to move you up. Nowadays companies like this are hard to find. So I am thankful to work for them.

So, simply I am thankful for the things that maybe I take for granted but are truly the most dear to my heart. 

Off the couch, Off the cushion

I’ve been away for a little while… my apologies for the gap in between postings here.

My travels on the “spiritual path” over the past 5, almost 6, years led me to a place I was getting very uncomfortable with. I needed to make some decisions and choose what was most important to me. My life, due to an inadequate amount of energy, ambition and motivation had become stagnant.

For to long I had neglected not only my close relationships, but neglected my health.  Sitting around all day on the couch, tapping away at this computer was not any sort of rigorous activity. Seated upon my zafu, while good for my mind, was doing nothing for me but bringing me closer to a state of contentment. I was ok with just being! Sorry to all the great teachers and masters that say “just be”, it is not that easy, nor does it just make sense.

To “just be” indicates a level of complacency, it means being ok with what and where you are in life. It also means, there is no change, that things just are what they are. To that I stick my middle finger high in the air, I am not ok with it at all! Change is not something that happens, shit happens.

Change is something that is strived for, something we work at. You can’t expect it to happen without putting in a little work, without getting up and doing something about it. It goes for any area of our lives, we need to do something.

Continue reading →