Do What You Were Meant To Do.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman

Finding your soul purpose, is not a exploration through outer space. I repeat:

Finding your soul purpose, is not a exploration through outer space.

What does this mean?

It means that God has endowed us all with things that we are passionate about, and talented out. What ever those things are for you, are the things that I truly believe that you should be pursuing.

It doesn’t matter if its painting, web design, clothing, public speaking, mentoring, coaching or something else. If we are not doing the things we love in some fashion. We are living a horrible existence.

As a society, we are caught in the 9-5 trap, working for our bank accounts. Now, if you like what you’re doing, good. Keep doing it. But I feel that most people hate what their doing and as such they are dying on the inside. Living for the Fridays and drinking some beer… Not that that’s bad at all.

But I just think that we could be living a more meaningful existence… You have to work an odd job to make ends meet. But to not do something that makes you come alive, is utter foolishness.

Write down what makes you come alive, make a plan and go do it.

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Cerebral Palsy. Body Image and Internal Healing.

I’m starting to see a correlation between cerebral palsy and body image, this correlation stems from being in contact with numerous people who live with cerebral palsy through social media. In this particular regard, I’m speaking about having a negative self image.

You may look at the image of me below, and not think that I am “fat” all, but when I look at myself. That is what I see.

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When I look at the sides of my stomach, I think “Ugh gross” then I start thinking or obsessing over what I eat and upping the intensity of my daily workouts. Which is not a bad thing at all. It is a problem though, when you are in the middle of your workout and you can’t stop dwelling on how disgusting you feel and look.

I posted that above photo on instagram a few weeks ago, lots of people said that I looked great, or that we all had those feelings, or even “that’s just skin!” The comments were heart warming and helped me to think more positively.. For awhile, but then I would find myself in the downward spiral of self destruction and sabotage.

My workouts have consisted of lots of burpees, probably two-four hundred every single day. Along with Kettle and Bar Bell lifting. I sweat a lot, recover well but am utterly hungry the rest of the day.  Nor am I afraid of eating my carbs, protein and Beer… My one beer after work.

The engine is constantly stoked, and I’m constantly pushing my mind and body.. But there is this area of my life, that needs change. I’m tried all the thought stopping methods, all the positive affirmations etc. And still nothing helps the crap shoot stop.

After CF today, I came home, ate and then went to wash my stinky self. There I was, looking at my body with contempt. And then I thought, “this has to stop!” Truly the only thing that gets me through life is my faith. So after redirecting my thoughts back to it, I whispered to God:

“God, you don’t want me to hate my body, I know that. Help me to see myself differently, as you do.” At that moment, something clicked on inside of me. I’m not saying that you have to do, as I do, that is something that you have to decide and work through for yourself.

What I am saying though, is that these destructive thinking has to stop, or at least be put in its rightful place. A vast majority of therapists would saying that working out is killing me, and steer me away from it as they would most addictions. But I don’t think that that is the end all be all solution.

Yes, some things might need to change, or pause. But this is less a physical issue, and more a mental, emotional and spiritual issue. And until those issues heal, nothing we change the way we long for.

So! We have to understand that this is going to be a long journey, with plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns. We have to accept where we are at. I know that this is something that will not want to be heard, you might spend lots of time in a wheel chair, and be on lots of meds. Okay, we can work with that, the fact is that we cannot give up.

There are plenty of exercises that can be done from a seated position, plenty of ways to even build stamina too. I should get on making videos regarding these topics. Yet the biggest component is learning to take care of ourselves from a place of love and not so much a “I have to” but an “I want to” there’s a huge difference.

Change your forward thinking: Think less on your image, and think more about prolonged health, mobility, strength and focus. So that we can be the strongest version of ourselves, not so much for ourselves but for others.

The internal healing is more tangible than we believe, more closer than we think. Much like any medicine though, it takes time for the benefits to show up, but rest assured. Through discipline and diligence change will come.

Blessings!

-Brandon

 

 

 

 

God Spoke To Me

There I was sitting on the toilet this morning, as I always do. Taking care of the demons in my stomach. Truth be told, I have not been feeling all that great about myself the past few days. For reasons that I do not wish to share on this blog.

But there I was, the few places that I pray are when I am in the shower, working out or on the toilet. I tend to pray more privately these days… As I was sitting on my throne, I was noticing all the negative thoughts coming out from my mind, making their way to my heart.

When I heard and felt a soft whisper say from underneath all of the crap coming out of (non pun intended).

Your my son… 

I know its crazy, and this blog might very well make you think that of me. So be it. For many religious crack heads have said that God spoke to them, well, let me tell you quickly why my experience is different. The words that were spoken to me, can be back up with scripture.

Psalm 2:7

Matthew 3:17

Luke 15:11-32

To name a few, I don’t think this is as crazy, because God speaks to various people in various ways through out the whole of scripture. Further more, the Lord reminding me that I am his son, is far (far) different than some other Christian claiming “the phone rang and that was a sign I was meant to marry this person!”

I know my soul needed these words today, I needed to be reminded of my true identity today. Does this happen often to me? No, but when it does. Its very special to me. Today my hope and prayer is that you know that God loves you, in Christ all things can be made new.

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The Lies I Believe And The Power of Ephesians

Contrary to popular belief, or how social media my portray I don’t wake up with a smile on my face all the time. In fact, some mornings I wake up and it seems as though, there is a spiritual war going inside me. A war against regret, doubt, shame, hopelessness and so much more.

The lies I believe:

You’re not good enough

you don’t have what it takes

nobody actually cares

no women will ever want you

you’ll never be all that you dreamed of being

God hates you

Just give up.

There’s more lies in there I’m sure, but you get the point and maybe you can relate. Sometimes I’m not even sure how these thoughts enter my mind. I could just wake up that way! Wake up feeling like I’m in a fight for my life, my mind, my eternal destiny. I have to be reminded that I’m not hopeless, that the God of the university is for me and on my side. His eyes are ever upon me. The one thing that has caused me to hold on and fight back against all these thoughts, is the love letter of Ephesians. I could easily copy and paste the entire 6 chapters in this blog, but I think I will settle for Eph 1:3-14

eBlessed be fthe God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing gin the heavenly places, 4 heven as he ichose us in him jbefore the foundation of the world, that we should be kholy and blameless before him. In love 5 lhe predestined us2 for madoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, naccording to the purpose of his will, 6 oto the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in pthe Beloved. 7 qIn him we have rredemption sthrough his blood, tthe forgiveness of our trespasses, uaccording to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 vmaking known3 to us the mystery of his will, naccording to his purpose, which he wset forth in Christ 10 as a plan for xthe fullness of time, yto unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained zan inheritance, ahaving been predestined baccording to the purpose of him who works all things according to cthe counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be dto the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard ethe word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, fwere sealed with the gpromised Holy Spirit, 14 who is hthe guarantee4 of our iinheritance until jwe acquire kpossession of it,5 lto the praise of his glory.

I can think of no other writing in the world, that makes my mind and soul come alive in this way. I can think of no other spiritual or religious text that makes me want to put on my armor, grab my brave heart sword (metaphorically speaking) and start slaying these lies in my head. Because Christ has overcame it all for me. He has done the same for you, so that you no longer have to be chained to these crippling thoughts any longer.

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The Hell of Depression and The Will To Keep Going.

Living with depression sucks, it’s not a new topic for me to write about, nor is it something that the overly positive like to discuss. Talking about depression can be like a sudden down pour on a sunny day. As I feel depression start to creep back into my life, I find myself trying to do everything I can to keep it a bay.

I make sure that I’m eating healthy as possible. Getting adequate amounts of sleep and staying consistent in the gym. As well as staying disciplined spiritually, spending time in prayer and quite contemplation, reading books that water my soul.

But you know what? There’re days when having depression just simply sucks. There’s days where I am far from optimistic and very negative. The other day at the gym, my attitude was horrible. My heart was so set on doing heavy back squats, but I was met with a wrench in my system… Tempo squats… I had never done one up until this point, it felt so new and weird to me.

I tried to keep (or rather fake) a good attitude, I did the best I could to stick to the prescribed workout. But my mind and body were not having it. I mean, I quit during the last set and nothing was clicking for me on this day. My mind was full of shit thoughts. I didn’t want to be at the gym, I didn’t want to do this workout…. I just wanted to do what Brandon wanted to do.

I wanted to run away, and be as far away as I could from the human population. Those thoughts, feelings and emotions are still with me even in this moment. I’ve tried getting all the anger out through fitness, it helps for a moment, but still I feel the only that would help these feelings inside me would be letting out a scream that would cut through the expanse of the universe.

It’s a bit of a stretch I know, but it’s true. What is helping me the most right now, is that it is okay to want to scream, punch things (preferably a punching bag and not a person or wall), cry, run, sprint, lift heavy things, scribble in a journal whatever it is. The point is that you don’t have to stomach the feelings, thoughts, emotions that depression brings.

Stomaching these things only makes things worse. If you have a crappy attitude, acknowledge it, apologies for it if you have to, chalk it up as a bad day if you have to. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from it.  If you are a friend, mentor or coach and you have someone like this in your life. Know that they are going through a rough patch, don’t take it personally, don’t fire back.

Rather, lovingly motivate them and remind them that this one day or season isn’t the end for them.  Listen to them, hear them out, scream, cry do whatever it takes. But don’t give up on them. Remind them that you they are loved, remind them of their worth and potential, remind them that one day or season doesn’t define them.

In the words of ChurchHill, if your going through hell, keep going.

Keep going…  I don’t care if it takes awhile to get going… I don’t care if you have to fall out of bed, get going.  You might even need sometime to rest, but get up and keep going. If you have a routine, stick to it regardless of how you feel. It will keep you from sinking deep into yourself. It will keep your head above water.

We can rise above and conquer, this hell of depression doesn’t have to win.

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Adapt And Rise

Our excuses to not take care of ourselves are no more.

The reasons we have to not better ourselves, don’t stand up to what the modern day adaptive athlete can do.

Being born with Cerebral Palsy, I was told that there was a low chance of survival, and if I lived. I wouldn’t amount to much. If you heard this story before and feel like you’re reading the same blog over again, I’m sorry but this is my story. And I will gladly proclaim how God took a frail child and turned him into a warrior.

On this day, maybe you feel down and out, depressed, suicidal, feel alone and feel like you could never amount to much. I get it, I’ve been there, but I’m here today to tell you that you can rise above and conquer all of that. Maybe you have bad health, or hate the way your body looks. Okay, lets start making changes right this second.

Maybe you have no use of your legs, okay, you can have a strong upper body!

Maybe you have one leg or arm, that just means that you have to be willing to adapt to your circumstances. There are ways to adapt upper body lifts to those with only one arm. If you have a prosthetic leg, awesome  there’re so many ways you can adapt exercises and functional movements to fit your needs.

Have an autoimmune, still not the end of the world, take the journey of finding good coaches that can help you. Go slow, listen to your body. And go fourth in your journey.

Please understand that, in no way do I intend to sound un-compassionate. Nor am I implying that any of this will be easy. It is because of compassion and love, that I am imploring you  today to not sit in your excuses and settle for anything less then your best.

Do I have my bad days? Yes,  but warriors rise after they fall, they get up after a needed rest.  Greatness comes from darkness, use the pain, use the hurt to drive forward to a better tomorrow. I’ll say it again, there are no short cuts, no self help books or remedies that can make the journey any easier.

What will help is hope. faith. Love and community. These are real things with eternal significants. Whatever is holding you back today, whatever is keeping you from progress. Face it. Don’t give it authority a second longer. Your life matters. Make the most of it.

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Why I don’t Think Being Inspiring Is A Bad Thing.

 

 

For those that have followed my blogs, know that I embrace the term of adaptive athlete with open arms. Furthermore, the term adaptive athlete, didn’t exist ten years ago. Obviously, my father had a lot to do with getting me started on that journey with martial arts and weight lifting. But when I discovered CF, I do anyone knew what was about to happen. The moment I saw it, I wanted to try it, but I was hesitant in a few ways. One, I wasn’t sure how my body would respond to it and two, wasn’t sure how coaches would respond to someone like me. Would they baby me? Or would they simply send me away?

The moment I saw Steph Hammerman doing CF on YouTube, the green light in me switched on. I loved that coaches were so willing to adapt to the context that she was in. To me, it was far better than any amount of money spent on physical therapy at a hospital. Fast forward a few years and now there is competition specifically for us adaptive athletes. How I personally feel about some of them is a whole other blog entry. But the point of this particular entry is, people like myself frequent social media posts, largely because of the platform that I have to inspire others to get off the couch and start improving their lives one step at a time.

That doesn’t sound bad, right? In fact, it might seem motivating and inspiring, right? Well… Some people have a problem with the word inspiring or people telling them about how inspiring they are.

To a point I get it, we want to be treated like everybody else. I get it. But I will respectfully raise a few points of my own. One) You can’t keep others from being inspired by you, in fact the person that is inspired by you, will go to their friends and speak of how much they are inspired by you even though you may not want to hear it. Two) this is the platform we have, and it’s not going away anytime soon. This is not about any sort of special treatment, that’s not even what adaptations are about. But giving everyone an equal chance to perform at their best. Finally, I would respectfully suggest that inspiring others is what the fitness community is all about, for no man is an island to themselves. We can keep to ourselves and stay in our pride, but where is the joy and fun in that? Our community shines much brighter when we can encourage each other regardless of age or ability. Get used to people being inspired by people such as you and I, Because people are always watching us and as such that should be more than enough to be an agent for change.

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