My name is Brandon Ryan,
I am 36 years old and reside out of my Omaha, NE. I was born with cerebral palsy and have had the deck stacked against me since my very first breath. The very premise of my life has been overcoming obstacles and coming through great darkness. Doctors didn't I would amount to much, and teachers didn't think I was smart enough to graduate college. Now, I am a, college graduate (psychology major) published author, motivational speaker, certified fitness and nutrition coach and I also teach adaptive self-defense to people will a host of different abilities. I'm extremely passionate about helping those see, that they are stronger than you they know and that they can over come anything!
The following is not health or nutrition advice, but my own thoughts toward the medical world/industry
There has been a frustration inside me, as it relates to the medical world. Even as one who has practically grew up in that setting, having cerebral palsy, numerous surgeries, seizures and even Asthma. Now, to a fair degree there is a great thankfulness to the doctors that helped me as a child, more so from helping to get the reality of seizures under control in my life. And even now as an adult, having muscle relaxers to keep very painful spasms at bay, is a Godsend. The frustration that has risen inside me, is because my eyes have discovered how broken the system actual is. And the question that must be asked is, are we becoming our healthiest selves? Or are we floating along only believing that we are healthy? The average doctor that I’ve seen over the last few years, they have quite the belly on them while trying to tell others how to be healthy. And to a degree it can be easily understood, think of the number of people that they see daily, they barely have the time to take care of themselves. And more than likely, when they get a chance to eat, its probably the quickest bite to eat that they can consume. My biggest problem is that the medical world seems to want to keep people dependent upon them and the medication provided. For instance, diabetes is said to be managed and not reversed. When there have been people that have reversed it, and the changes that had to be made in their lives had little to do with medication. A lot of it had to do with changes within the human diet and exercising every day. Also, the issue of high blood pleasure, doctors have some people on a handful of medications. Which for men, can have horrible side-effects, that, and high cholesterol pills. Again, when you change your diet, good things can happen in a person’s life. One time, I tried to express these concerns with my own doctor, and in his response, he said, “these medications are a necessary evil”. Something about his response did not sit well with me, and still does. In my estimation, if a medication is making you sicker and not healthier, there’s a problem. Beyond this, is the nutritional aspect. Doctors appear to be hell bent on getting people to eat more vegetables, and much less or no red meat. Because red meat is so terrible and deadly. To support this reality, there are commercials that have food companies fill your fried full of food, but you know what’s not in the fridge in said commercial? Meat! It’s all vegan friendly foods. Now, I have no issue with getting one’s daily greens, however, in my opinion is not only one of the most nutrient filled foods but the reality of more protein within the human diet, can not only change one’s body composition. But can help that stabilize blood sugar levels as well, to add to that it will keep one fuller and you’ll stop craving the foods you don’t need as much. Not one time have I personally heard a doctor or dietitian say this. Even politically speaking, the more progressive want to eradicate red meat from the world, or so it seems. Pharmaceutical companies seem to be bent toward the same direction. To me, it seems that if the medical world wanted to keep others healthier, it would start with the hope of keeping people out of their office, rather than dependent on them. It would also consist of having a fair understand of nutrition, and dispelling of myths that stem from the 70’s. Again, even though I’ve expressed some deep frustration with medical industry, my words are used to be an agent for change.
The serenity prayer is one of my favorite prayers to recite,
God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And the wisdom to know the difference.
The prayer is simple, but one that is always there in time of need. It also can be one that serves and comforts you. The first step is the acknowledgement of God, and our need for his mercy and help. One might stumble over the reality of a higher power existing, regardless of how one believes or feels.
There will be times in life (for all of us) when we feel powerless over our circumstances, and we will most certainly seek help outside of ourselves. Even if it is from another person or group of people. In these times, we seek out hope, wisdom, truth and even serenity. It points further to the reality that as humans, we were never meant to walk alone. Hold onto this given inclination, it might point you to the greatest truth ever discovered or even your destiny might be revealed.
Things we cannot change
All of us in life are surrounded by things we cannot change, for example, one could wake up in a perfectly good mood and ready to take on the day. Despite that, however, there might be the furthest from how you woke up. In fact, if you or I are not in control of faculties, we can find ourselves absorbing their very own mood. This is written from both experience and repeated failure. There are times in life where it is easier to deal with the world around me, and others where nothing but chaos surrounds. Anxiety pounces, and depression finds a way to mix itself in.
A few things that have aided me in this, beyond saying this prayer, is slow breathing through the nose and out the mouth: Breathing in 5 seconds slow and exhaling 5 seconds slowly. Repeat this for 2-5 minutes daily. The second practice is knowing that you cannot control how people act or what they decide to do. If on the other hand, were the cause of another’s problems, then take ownership of it as much as you can. Make the amends that are needing, with the understanding that is up to them how they respond. Thirdly, pray, even if you have never prayed before. There have been times, when alone that my prayers have been screams and laments. Though, I am not proud of the fact, none the less God’s spirit has always comforted me.
The Things We Can Change
Most often the things we can change, are the same things we refuse to do. Our hearts have a God ordained way of letting us know what’s wrong and what requires fixing. Yet, we knowingly suppress the truth of what we should do. For instance, we might believe that it is time to embark on the path of our own destiny. And yet, we don’t because we’re afraid of the judgement or attitudes of others. What we are meant to do, will continually rise to the surface until we do what must be done. We might not be able to control what happens around us and to us, but we can change how we respond to them. It takes a lot of time, and grace but it is a skill set that can be improved upon.
Its also something that you will fail at, a lot, rather learn to get back up quickly and stay on course. We can change quite a lot about ourselves, we only must be able to put in the work daily. We can learn self-control, to eat better, we can shed weight or body fat, we can improve the relationship around us, we can make the environments around us look and feel better. There is so much more that can added to the list, if only we let the discover the dreams and visions that God has placed inside of us, then we will find a mode of being and a true reason to live.
A man is called to adventure when the time comes to leave the home of his mother and father, it’s echo’s the words of Genesis 2:24: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. This is the reality for most abled bodied men, parents know that the day will eventually arrive, and the father usual takes it better than the mother. The mother typically wrestles more when their son or daughter leaves home and embarks on the journey and adventure of them, because there is a fear that overcomes them, usually about the safety and well-being being of their child. Any parent that had any amount of sense to them would feel this way, even that of a rugged and strong father. Imagine if your son or daughter was born with a disability, the fear that would fill a parent then. That sense of freedom and adventure still fills them as well.
My mother and I have butted head quite a few times, one of which times was when the desire for me to attend college, away from home. She didn’t like the idea at all, in fact she shot it down and told me that the only way that attending college would be a reality, was if it was online. Her reasoning was that it would be much safer for me, and she could help should something happen to me. And as much as she shot down my desire to attend college outside of the home, the more the desire for me to fight for what I wanted came out. We had a few several heated arguments, at this time the ability to be able to control my emotions was rather difficult and thinking before the words came out of my mouth didn’t exist as a practice. My mother is a very stubborn woman in nature, and she doesn’t back down until she gets what she desires, so you can naturally see where my same attitude comes from.
My father graciously took me to tour a few college campuses in town, truthfully, which could have been any local college, but it was the size of a few colleges freaked me out and ultimately it seemed right to me to choose a very small faith-based college. After getting accepted to the college of my choosing, which was a very simple and straight forward process, came the time to pack up my things in move into my dorm. If my memory serves me correct, my mom stayed home and my dad and sister helped me move into my dorm, my mom had tears in her eyes as we were leaving. Which in a way made me feel bad, but this was something that God has called me to do, and when he commands, you execute the mission at hand. There was even uneasiness in my own heart because of the realm of “no man’s” land that awaited me. After several hours and trips back and forth from my dorm room, it was time for my family to leave. My dad tried to play it tough, but deep down, he was terrified as well.
It wasn’t as though, there were hundreds of miles from home either, literally the span of time was twenty minutes. The four and a half years that was my college experience was some of the best years of my life, but my God did learning come through hardship and even pain. One day in the cafeteria while trying to transport a cup a coffee to the table while driving my scooter, sometimes my brain didn’t connect the dots, between turning the speed down on my scooter and the hot cup of coffee held between my legs. The coffee spilled all over my lap, which was a very painful and frankly embarrassing experience. Or in a similar experience, but only dropping an entire plate of food on the ground. There isn’t another time in my life, where the struggle was so real, apart from recovering from a severe operation, but you know what? It was deeply-deeply satisfying to my soul.
This has been one of the most profound regrets of my life, was that there wasn’t room for much struggle and toil in my life. Well, why would you want struggle and toil in your life? You might ask, because you find out what you can do as a man, and when you overcome a challenge in life, you feel as though you were Samson, who killed a lion with his bare hands. Sometimes parents of children who have disabilities ask me for advice on how to raise their children, there’s no real words of inspiration, but in a frank and compassionate way, I tell them that eventually you must let your children struggle and fight. Love them yes, care for them yes, but sometimes love is letting a person experience things for themselves. This isn’t to say, that you should be careless with your child and let them do horrible dangerous actions because they’ll learn. The point is that when it comes to mastering their lives, they must know how to succeed and thrive in hard times.
Whether that’s learning how to cook, tie shoes, button up a shirt and so on. It may be difficult for a parent to stand back to hear your child to become frustrated and even cry. But when they overcome the challenge in front of them, they will gain a confidence in themselves and be ready to take on the next. There is always the reality of adaption, meaning that if something is physically out of the realm of possibility for them, because of lack of dexterity in the hands find a device that can that reality more doable. Example being, tying my own shoes was nothing something that was very doable because of the lack of dexterity in my right hand, so my sister went to a shoe store and got me some shoelaces, that you didn’t need to tie, but pull for you shoe to become tighter on my feet. In terms of buttoning my ow shirt, some buttons are far easier than others, or I’ve learned that if buying a shirt that’s dressier I’ll simply put the shirt over my head without unbuttoning the shirt all together.
There’s almost always a way to adapt to a situation in life, we only must be willing to find that solution. The plea that is in my heart for parents who have disabled children is beyond what words can possibly express. There’re are profound consequences if you do not allow your children to grow, not only will their growth be stunted in every sense of the word, but they may never get to fully embrace the dreams that God has breathed into their hearts. Worse yet, if you do not allow them to grow and move into the world in as much as they can, the chances of the developing a great amount of shame within themselves is very high. Speaking from experience, the intense shame that I’ve battled for thirty-seven years of my life has been much. Sometimes the shame was so intensifying that the longing for sleep was my only way to obtain peace. Trying to mount any sort of fight against it proved to be futile. The shame that made its home inside me, seemed like a resident that would never leave, and one that was better off accepted as reality.
The more that the attempt was made to simply shrug my shoulders, and the reality that was before me. The more unsettled my spirit became. My spirit became increasingly unsettled because on the inside of me, was the inclination that there was far more to my existence than even realized. Getting to a point where the culmination of my life’s purpose was before was a completely different story. The few things that have ever filled me with passion and fulfillment was writing, martial arts and fitness, and by the grace of God those avenues have been used to help others but not to the potential of what I believed to be right. The vision that unfolds in the sketch pad of my mind, was being a best-selling author, and helping others become healthier safer by the hundreds. It can be said that life doesn’t always work out the way we planned it. But we damn sure, should be able to take aim at the highest marker possible. It is better to aim and miss then to not have aimed at all.
Sadly, a good deal of the clients that I’ve worked with haven’t been able to take that aim either. As one that works as a fitness, nutrition, and health coach, most of my clients end up wanting to share their stories with me. The story is much of the same, they spend most of their time at home within different family dynamics. Many of them on some level of fixed income, some even have no means of transportation and or healthy amounts of in person social life. As a result, most of their mode of being is spent online via social media and other means of communication. These are in some ways, the forgotten people of society, both men and women. Meaning that they aren’t readily seen as the ones will conquer and make a difference in the world. They must fight harder to be recognized. Many of the clients that I’ve worked with over the past few years, have echoed the same feelings that their lives at times, are utterly meaningless and worthless. As though they will never get to embrace the adventure and longings that are indwelled within them. The simple way of saying it, is that they fear that they will never get the independence they long for.
The increasing difficult as a coach to inspire, share empathy and share wisdom, while fighting those realities myself is monumental. As a man, it is even more agonizing to the soul. Primally speaking the man is the one who is meant to go out and hunt. The word hunt, in this sense is used as the means to gather the things needed for survival, not only of the self but of the pack (the pack meaning family). Women largely do not select a man, who cannot go out into the wilderness of life and hunt for the betterment of the tribe. More in the nature of how they are wired, than mere coldness, though it can be portrayed that way. It can be a very difficult and taxing reality to swallow as a disabled man. It is a reality that we should come to terms with, not in a hopeless or blind acceptance, but one with increasing optimism.
The biblical figure of Abraham was 70 years old before God called him to pack up and leave all the comforts of home. He and his wife were also without children, the age of Abraham never truly stood out to me, until the moment the journey began through the bible again, my eyes saw the number of age his was and a sense of panic filled me. “what!? No God I can’t be like Abraham!” being 70 years old living with my family still, let alone with no children of my own. You see though, Abraham is the definition of the increasing optimism that was mentioned above. As Romans 4:17-19 informs us:
17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[a] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
17 As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations[a]—in the presence of the God in whom he believed,the one who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. 18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations[b] according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be.[c]19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered[d] his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
Others translation use the wording of “without weaking in his faith.” Or “against all hope. The fact is this, he never gave up even in the moments where he or his wife felt discouraged. Our own inner dispositions must be the same, so much that no matter how long it takes us to reach the destination that God has destined us for, by his grace we will get there. It bears repeating that the faith that Abraham possess, is not something that here kindled up within himself, but the faith that he has is God given. That same faith can lay dormant, I’m not attending to imply that all people have faith, but that in the grappling of our hearts can sometimes be the indication that there is something more going on. Such was the case in my own life, in the disparity and questions that weighed in me, was God himself waiting for his intended divine moment to reveal himself to me. Of all the times that was spent trying to suffocate the reality of God, it turned out to be my deepest need and longing. His love is the most sustaining reality of all life and existence. After my heart and mind were open to the revelation of Christ, there became an ever-increasing awareness of not only the gifting of how God wired me, but dreams as well. As a child the exposure to martial arts and writing came early, they were both gifts from God that needed cultivating and development over time. When academics were still very hit and miss for me, my mom gave me the ultimatum of sitting down to take a stab at writing a book or stick it out with college. Eventually, came the longing to find a wife, scripture even says that he who finds a wife finds a good thing. Yet my eyes always rolled when reading that verse after a series of failed relationships.
It’s probably taken me more time than I’d like to mature in relationships, going from chaos to wanting to seek health in the bonding of two people. (I’ll unpack more of what that means later). With every failed relationship and every year that passes, is like an artist trying to sketch an image in their mind on piece of paper, only to rip it up and throw it away. Even though the moments of wanting to ditch this specific desire in me were quite intense, God has a way of bringing the desire to mind. Even though the desire is ever present and real, the question that soon follows is how? How is this going to work? That or follow up questions of “when Lord?” or “who would be strong enough to enter my context?” Answer to these questions have a way of befalling me, but the reality that settles me is trust. We must trust that even if God is the orchestrator of salvation, he will also do so with the rest of our life and mission. No matter how long it takes, as it did with Abraham.
For the longest time I’ve wanted to write a book on manhood, but not just another book on manhood, but one that was directed to men that were living with cerebral palsy or otherwise. Why exactly? The reason is simple, there wasn’t anything in the market geared toward this particular people group. While I’ve read some awesome books on the subject, many of them have to do with the masculine man who can everyday things that a man is supposed to do. It was in this same season of life, that I became close with my friend John, via social media. We would talk as often as we could and when his health allowed. John not only had cerebral palsy, but severe chronic pain, his severity of cerebral palsy was unlike anything that my eyes have even seen. But the more we talked, the more he became like a brother to me, with were both Christian men, and did the best we could to pray and encourage each other. Still though, what was being said to men like John? Even better what was the Church saying on this topic? You see it’s one thing to tell men to be brave, lead and provide for their families, but how do you do that if you are like my friend John? The obvious answer is that it’s not going to look the same. Of all my years of being a follower of Christ, I cannot remember one time where a pastor has spoken to this issue. At least not in protestant circles, however the late Henry Nouwen, who was a catholic spent time caring for men that were disabled in the form of a care giver. I can remember reading about how he would wake up and bathe and feed the men that were under his care, and when he would preach a sermon, he had a way of including those with disabilities into the service. The heart of Henry was remarkable, one that I wished spread throughout Christianity more. As important as the topic of masculinity is, for me it was more important for men to know who they were in the eyes of God. For in my estimation, God is who makes men-men in the first place, as his image is upon us. The problem became, for me anyway, a wrestling match came between my flesh and inner convictions. What I mean is this, in the depths of who I am, there is a calling from God to tell others about him, yet the other side of my brain would tell me, that if only my mouth was shut up on the God topic maybe I’d make a lot more money. The words of Jordan Peterson come to mind in light of that battle, he says “when you have something to say, silence is a lie.” He’s exactly right, we lie to ourselves and others in the most disastrous of ways, when we choose to withhold words of truth that can be potentially life changing for others, regardless of how another person may perceive it. The other area of my life that has caused me to stumble in writing this book, is that I am not where I like to be in life, which who would want to take advice or wisdom from someone like that? In life we are suggested to take advice from someone that is living it out. As of now, in this moment I am 37 years old and still in my parents’ house. My context of living is extremely complex. However, the general rule of thumb in life, is to take advice from someone who is living out what they should be doing and not trying to weave his way through the maze of his life. Still though, a fire burns below the layers of skin that cover this heart, a fire that can blaze the trail of a new discovery and journey in life. As it relates to fire, I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Moses in Exodus three. Moses was shepherding a flock on his way to mount Horeb, which was called the mountain of God. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appears to him in a fiery bush, he so consumed by it, he says “I must go over and look at this remarkable sight, why isn’t this bush burning up?” (Verse 4) He has no idea how his life is about to change, God calls out from the burning bush “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am” he responded God then tells Moses to not come any closer, and to take off his sandals, because the ground he was standing on is holy. You might wonder, what makes ground holy? Nothing specifically makes it holy, except when God occupies the territory. It could also be implied, that the moment is holy, because Moses discovers the destiny that is laid before him. God says to him “I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” Before this, Moses was just an ordinary man, who was given an extraordinary calling. You also have an extraordinary calling inside you as a man, you might shake your fist and say “How!?” I can barely do anything for myself!” Moses had a similar response, in chapter four, Moses says to God, 10 But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent—either in the past or recently or since you have been speaking to your servant—because my mouth and my tongue are sluggish.” But God responds to Moses with a pointed question: “Who placed a mouth on humans?” You may disqualify yourself from life because you have a speech impediment, you may disqualify yourself from life because you’re visually impaired, you may disqualify yourself because you must rely on others for care each day. Yet God see’s what you can be and will be even when we cannot see it ourselves. You may also spend large amounts of time and conclude that your life is over, and that there is no way of recovering semblance or meaning to your life. Abraham was seventy years old, before God called him to the unknown, away from his family, even though at his age he would be considered good for nothing. God still had some big promises and plans for him. Moses and Abraham are not merely archetypes in which wisdom and lessons can be gleaned from, but they are people that were called from the ordinary to the unknown. Since reading and pondering the life of Abraham, I’ve sensed that calling to the unknown, which has brought upon a great sense of fear and excitement. Which is why, I’ve attempted to submit the following essays, because of the strong desire to let men like myself, know that they are worth more than they know, that they have purpose and that they can discover a destiny that can spend beyond what we can see in this life.
One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (NASB)
Though I’m sure there are a few lessons that can be gleaned from the passage, one that sticks out to me the most, are those of us who wrestle with the past. Be it regret, shame, loss, and the like.
So many times, we try and correct our own wrongs only to continually carry around a sense of dead weight inside us. It robs us of joy and peace. Often it can seem as though there is no way out of the cycle.
However, Christ broke that cycle on the cross, so that you (me) are not only forgiven for the past, present and future. We become new creations in Christ, from the inside out when you place our faith in him by the power of his spirit, as such we no longer must be at war with the past and we can trust God with our futures.
Yes, we may still face consequences in life, but we can do so with the peace and courage of Christ. We no longer have to be identified by the past, but rather, now, we can be identified but what Christ has done for us and who we are in him.
When it comes to our health, people usually start out with the best intentions, they get all excited and think “Ok! I’m going to get this goal accomplished! Whatever the goal may be, losing weight, gaining muscle or whatever goal you have in your mind. Most of us do good for a very small window, and then fall back into the same old slump. Losing motivation and maybe even believing that the goal can never be accomplished.
Here is one big reason why this happens, ready?
What? Our emotions Brandon? Yes, think about it, we let our emotions get us all hyped up and when things get difficult, and the emotion isn’t there anymore we’re left with nothing. We need something more than emotion, notice that I did not say to rid yourself of them but rather regulate them and have some deeper to drive us.
That is, having a purpose to drive our actions. Why do you want to be healthy? Who do you want to be and why?? Find the deeper reason and allow to burn itself into your very being. Let that purpose be the driving force! When the emotions show up, say okay and notice them but then reinforce them with a more sustained outlook.
As a health coach, I’ve seen many lives change, so I know yours can too! If you need someone to keep you accountable, simply reach out!
My cousin passed away recently, found out through the means of social media. So this short post is a way of me processing her passing.
Life has a way of stopping you in your tracks. Yesterday I discovered that a cousin of mine had passed away. And though I did not know her extremely well, the memories that was shared with her were great.
When she first came into my life, my aunt decided to make a random trip to Nebraska. At the time I was probably still in my early twenties. And very zealous in faith. The moment I saw my cousin Rachel, I felt the Holy Spirit Nudge my heart and give me the words. “Tell her about my love”.
So, I said OK Lord give me the moment to do so. Later that weekend, the moment came. I forgot all our conversation. But eventually we, prayed, and Gods love filled the room in such a tangible way.
I knew that something changed inside her, was it saving faith? I’m not sure but I know If Gods presence was there, it would not be in vain. I never saw her again after this day. In fact, we lost contact. But I never stopped thinking and praying for her. When I first saw her. I saw beauty and much potential. But sadly, know she was haunted by her own art
choices and mistakes.
I’ve always doubted my impact in the world and Gods kingdom. But I prayer the prayer we prayed returns in full. I believe that no gets to heaven in a straight line per say, we are all rag-tag humans. But he is so faithful and will never take his hand off his elect.
It’s funny how we think that earthly things will make us the happiest, we as humans put a high price on our comforts. We put value on fame, prestige, and awards. While those things are not bad, the question that we must ask ourselves, is are we ready to die? And what will those final moments of your life consist of? If you ask me, I’d rather die first, with a clean heart and mind before God. I’d rather die knowing that I did my very best to show people his love. The cry in my heart is to show people, that life is so much more than the external, it is more than working and saving up for a retirement of bliss, but it is about planting roots in eternity. When we can see beyond the external parts of life and see an eternal perspective. We no longer fear death, for we will transfer from the restlessness of our hearts, and into the peace that we all long for.
The ongoing debate between sport Combatives in real world soft defense is exhausting today the least, but here is some musing. Feel free to disagree. I’ve wrestled with both sides of the equation. On the sport side of things, there is far more sparring, which at least gives the capacity to deal with stress and resistance. But in no way do I believe that that is equal to dealing with asocial violence. Have there been instances where your typical mma fighter has done well in an encounter outside the ring or cage? Yes. But there is also instances where they get utterly destroyed. The same goes with sport grappling, if sport grappling is so suitable for real world violence, why has 4 black belts died in altercations that involve knives, guns or blunt objects? It’s a reality most do not prepare for, nor do they want to think about . When it comes to asocial violence, I have never seen a boxing attack. And when I have it’s mostly a form of social violence. See the difference? If we are serious about the protection of ourselves and loved ones, we must train appropriately for it. Am I saying to quit training at your mma gym or whatever? No, but I am saying to start understanding the differences between training In your own weight class abc rule set. As apposed to someone that does not give a damn about who you are, and is willing to whatever it takes to complete their evil plan.
I once saw a YouTube video of a drunk Canadian, who was arrested and being taken to the local police station. The video went viral, because the intoxicated man, started belting out a queen song. Somehow, he nailed all the words, the thing that struck me the most despite how funny it was. Was when they arrived at the station, the officer (If my memory serves me well) says to the man: “is there anything else I’m going to have to worry about?” The drunk guy responds by saying “Physical violence is the least of my priorities.”
Think about what he is saying for a moment, his statement goes against a huge part of the current self-defense industry. Where almost every school that claims to teach self-defense, starts with the physical violence first, and very little if not any word about situational awareness and legal aspects of violence.
For me, the more I learn about asocial violence, the more I want nothing to do with violence. I train self-defense, not because I love violence, but because I refuse to be a sheep the day violence comes toward me or anyone I care about. Again, the violence that I’m speaking of is the kind you can’t talk your way out of, nor walk away from.
And here’s the key, most forms of social violence, you can walk away from. That is, if you physically can. I mention that because, if you are in a wheelchair or some other context, you either must get darn good at verbal judo, or you must know when to flip the switch and defend your life.
Let your ego go. In fact, make it take a dirt nap, just because someone insults you, does not mean that you must go and prove what a bad ass you think you are. What happens then, when you walk over to that dude that insults you, and you knock him down only to have him hit his head and die? Or at least brain damage?
Do you have the pocket to pay for legal fees, counter lawsuits and so on? Was it worth it then? Was it worth to spend time in prison? I’m guessing not, plus, most people would regret their actions soon after.
There was a top ranked MMA fighter, who was said to be known for going around sucker punching people. This disturbed soul also claims to have the best sucker punch in the world. As of result of actions, his dumb ass got arrested. MMA coaches/gyms surely could do a better job instilling values into their fighters or at least laying out what they will not tolerate, because in all honesty it sets a bad precedence for the coach and gyms.
The moral of the story is this, violence should be avoided until it cannot be avoided any longer. We need to think more deeply about what we are being taught, and what is being taught to us. If you’re considering taking self defense classes (which you should) if all that is being taught is deadly force, you probably should reconsider. If all that’s being taught is how to break an arm, or take someone’s vision away, you might want to find another school.
There is a time for deadly force, but often, there is a scalability involved. Simply meaning that not all situations call for a level ten response. Sometimes compliance and restraining a person is all that’s needed.
Train smart, engage your mind, don’t let your ego dictate your actions, make violence the least of your priorities.
There are many forms of suffering in the world, but one of the world’s most silent of killers is depression. Depression at times can be unnoticeable, either because we as people don’t know what to look for or the person that is suffering becomes so good at hiding it, they seem fine altogether. Depression can often feel like a sinking feeling or wearing a weighted vest that only brings you deeper below the surface.
Depression while giving a person a sinking feeling, can also be very hard to talk about. One, because it can be hard to find a person that will listen to you, two, people feel as though they constantly must fix things, so often quick platitudes are given and 3) a hyper form of positive thinking is prescribed: “Just think positive and you’ll feel better!” Or faith-based crowds will say to pray away the pain.
Now, how we think or rather how we feed our minds does matter, and I’ll get to that in a bit. But first I’d like to speak to the quiet agony that depression can have on a person. Depression can be an unseen battle in the mind, you might not ever see it, but someone close to you can truly be getting their asses kicked mentally.
Largely what this can look like, is feeling as though no one cares about you, or that you’re a no good, untalented fairly that will never amount to anything. Much worse believing the lie that this world would be better off with you. Truthfully, this is a battle that I wouldn’t want anyone to live.
I myself have lived with this battle for 37 years, my depression is not bad year-round, though it totally seems that way. All the thoughts mentioned above are things that I’ve grappled with you. Therefore, I truly believe that depression is a spiritual war, because even if one does not believe in God or a higher power, when you go to therapy, you are primarily going there to combat the lies inside your mind.
Essentially as your counselor uses cognitive behavior therapy, their aim is to change how you think about yourself, and the rest of your future. In that the words that they say to you, have the power to change your thinking. This is why words are so powerful. Knowing this truth, changes how we speak to others and ourselves. Be mindful of how you speak to people on a daily, we humans are quite imperfect at times, but that should be a motivation to be mindful with our speech. I truly am convinced that we should spend more time building others up, encouraging, inspiring and serving others. As opposed to letting our mouths run wild and careless. Even apologizing for things, we didn’t mean or didn’t say exactly as we should.
Lastly, learn to counteract the lies and statements that pop into your mind ever so randomly. If your mind tells you that you’ll never amount to anything, remind your brain of the things you have accomplished. As with ever lie in the mind, learn to take hold of it and replace it with truth.
This might not seem like it works in the moment, or even every single time. But the more you reinforce your mind, the easier it is to fight. And on the days that really are difficult, know that they storm will eventually lift.