Lessons from First-World Culture Shock

It is these surface similarities that create a window to view the fundamental differences. It is the baseline understanding that allows for the nuances to show through. Without a common language the subtleties of Kiwi humor would remain completely obscured. Without a common language I would hardly comprehend their national identity or how they view the political environment at home and the world at large. Without a common language they wouldn’t be able to tell me how strange my English sounds to them and how obviously Californian I really am. It’s because New Zealand feels so close to home that the “you’re not from around here are you?” looks that are a given in most foreign countries feel so potent. The smirky glances I receive when I reflexively say “dude” or pass a stranger on the right instead of the left constantly remind me of how different I really am.

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Gratitude and How My Own Words Returned at the Perfect Time

Today Breaking Muscle published my most important article. It is about gratitude for your body and your ability to train regardless of your level and circumstances. It is truly such a blessing be able to express movement in any and every way we see fit. Let us never forgot how special this opportunity is.

In many ways, everything I write is something that I need to hear myself. This article is no exception and found publication at a time when I needed to hear it most. I wrote this as a general reminder to always feel thankful for what you have accomplished while still retaining your drive for progress. However, in the time between writing and publication of this article, I have developed a hernia. I have not been able to "do anything meaningful" in over two weeks. At least this is the rhetoric I have been using to describe the growing sense of malaise I feel in my body and my life.

These chosen words though effect how I feel about my injury. I woke up this morning to find my gratitude article published and was honestly moved by own words. I try to always hold in mind the lessons that I wrote about. I am eternally gratitude to have such a capable body and the freedom to train it. But I've realized this morning how easily even our deepest held values can waver in the face of adversity.

Since developing my hernia I have slowly lost a lot of motivation and passion. I have not felt very much gratitude for my body lately.

This morning I received the beautiful reminder that gratitude is a choice and we can never relinquish it to external forces. Gratitude is a decision to dwell on the good and to celebrate all that we have, rather than a focus on what is missing, lost, or stolen. While my days and my training sessions look quite different than a few weeks ago, I have so much to feel grateful for. While I feel fear as the condition worsens over these last two weeks, I am in no real danger and still have incredible overall health.

Today I dwell on the fact that I can still do handstands, stretch, and even walk around. Today I celebrate the long walks I've taken and the time freedom to work on other projects. Today I feel gratitude for the lessons that this injury has taught me about my body and relish the opportunity to address my imbalances.

Life may have changed, but remains no less wonderful. 

Always something work on, but always something to celebrate.

I would love for you to check out the article on Breaking Muscle. I also encourage you to share any thoughts this sparked for you. 

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2016: A Year in Review

2015 marked perhaps the most dynamic period of my life. I began a tradition of conducting an annual review to celebrate all that I’m proud of and examine all the areas where I want to grow. I’ve found no better way to integrate the experiences of the past year into continued growth. I do these for myself, but share them here in hopes you may share in my personal insights conduct a similar self-examination for yourself.

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Thick Skin

Being thick-skinned means to let your ego be self-generated, fed by self-love and merit, only allowing a slow-drip of well-founded feedback (both critical and uplifting) to direct your growth.

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The Golden Rule Reversal and Ruthless Self-Love

We constantly remind ourselves and each other to “treat others as you would like to be treated” or “treat others as you would treat yourself.” While this is a beautiful maxim it offers no assurance that we treat ourselves well.

Most of us are much harder on ourselves that we would ever be on another. We think of our own shortcomings as permanent and immovable. We dwell on our failures and flaws and allow them to feed negativity and inaction rather than serve as feedback for future success. We permit ourselves levels of indifference and inaction that we would never tolerate in an employee, colleague, or friend.

For most of us, treating others as we treat ourselves would lower our expectations and reduce our compassion. Turn the golden rule on it’s head and extend the same love, understanding, and standards to yourself that you so readily offer to those around you.

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