Rambling on Depression

Depression sucks, especially the kind of been experiencing the past three days. It’s like something dark, just came and busted out a lawn chair and began to relax while it indulged in it’s favorite beverage and snack. Then I think to myself, “Hey, I didn’t invite you here” Then this dark creature replies “oh, but you forget I show up every year.. When you least expect it.” That you do, but it doesn’t mean this depression is welcome.

So I’m going to express and share about what I’ve been feeling without giving power to loathing and deprecation of the self. Which I have been prone to do. However it will be a goal of mine within the new year to really fight against feeling sorry for myself and speaking negatively about myself. Depression is interesting in the sense that, it can feel your mind with lies that you know aren’t true. And yet, because its so heavy it feels true all the more.

The depression will say that I’m a fraud, no woman would ever want to be with me again, I’ve made to many mistakes and that my life is as good as it could possibly get. Meaning I’m stuck and life as I know it. Is over.

Again, I know it’s not true, but as I said the depression makes it seem all the more real and powerful. I’ve been on different medications for depression, and been to various counselors and I’ve had bad experiences with both. Medications only seemed to make feel worse, physically and mentally and most counselors I’ve seen have cooking cutter responses to my pain. So I said screw it both.

For me I believe that nutrition and fitness are big parts of fighting it, but you can do all that and still grapple with depression, however short the duration. For me, I’d rather have short durations, than to be where I once was, where I was having a couple panic attacks a week, puking before classes in college and so on.

This year hasn’t helped, though I’m thankful because here, in small Nebraska were not that restricted by Covid. But it doesn’t help, hearing about it every day, having a never ending political battle. Moreover, having cerebral palsy doesn’t help at all. It’s not like I can just leave the house whenever my heart desires. It’s also difficult when you don’t have any friends who can readily come pick you up or hang out with you because of their own circumstances.

Which is why I’ve tried a lot to be happy with myself and my own company, this is not just my battle but for many with cerebral palsy. Depression doesn’t make you weak, I just choose to lower my head and keep moving forward, to keep taking the shots. I’m not directly apposed to seeking help- I’m more open to talk therapy than anything. I’d only like to find a decent fit.

In the midst of the depression and the powerful blows that it deals myself and others, I’ve learn to channel a deep warrior strength inside me. One that knows that this darkness will pass, I’m learning to notice the pain and darkness within, and yet not be over ran by it. I’m learning to not let the depression over ride the duration of my day.

I still manage to workout, eat healthy, workout etc in spite of the depression that faces me. One might say that that’s not healthy. But to me, I say that that’s making war against the depression. It’s me fighting, going down swinging no matter what.

My greatest anchor through all of this is my relationship with God, prayer and reading my Bible. That’s what’s bigger than any darkness in my life.

Enter Life’s Grappling Match

Life is more like a wrestling match, than a dance. We are to live not like the gladiator but like the pancrationist. For while the gladiator is killed if he drops his sword, the pancrationist is always armed with his own to hands. -Marcus Aurelius

I love this quote by Marcus Aurelious, frankly as a life long martial artist my heart truly gravitated to this quote. I’m a grappler at heart and a purple belt in Brazilian Jujitsu. Pancration was one of the world’s first and if not the oldest grappling system and predates Jesus Christ. Though I am a purple belt in BJJ, most people do not know that I am also a certified instructor under the Jeet Kune Do Grappling association, JKD was Bruce Lee’s personal philosophy (not a system) toward fighting, Bruce himself loved the grappling as well, and of the main systems in JKD grappling (among others) is catch wrestling. Which is many ways is an off shoot of Pancration. I share this because both catch and Pancration or both very brutal systems that are up close and personal- and in the clinch. They are not pretty arts.
When it comes to our lives, we can have a tendency to want our lives to be pretty and comfortable. With little to no complication or adversity. Admittedly, some have much more comfortable lives than others. Which is not wrong in and of its self, but when one has too much comfort, even the tiniest bout of affliction and discomfort can send a person into an emotional frenzy. Trust me I’ve seen it in my own life! So Marcus is saying, that as humans we have to be willing to grapple in life, to be able to be stronger mentally and emotionally. Sure, one perfectly aimed attack can finish the altercation without much effort, but that isn’t life as much as we’d like it to be. The sword is not without it’s place in life, but more often than not the battle happens up close.
Some swordsmen, even when they clash with their swords, they end up in a grappling match. Boxers can spend all day punching a heavy bag and looking sharp on focus mitts. But in a real boxing match guess what? They still clinch up! That means that we as humans better get used to grappling emotionally and mentally in life. Maybe even actually go and take some grappling lessons, so that you can know what the actual fight is like. Everyone has different things we are grappling against, for some it’s addiction to various things, for others it could be depression, anxiety, self- image, health issues numerous things could be added to the list. What that does then, is that it puts all on level ground, and even gives us the chance to be in the corner of others. We must come to grips with the reality that a lot of life is grappling and struggle, and that’s ok! Why? Because as humans we learn more in the fire adversity than we do elsewhere.
The grappling match is the way to almost everything we want in life! You want be a better person? You have to be willing to enter the grappling match.
If you want to lose weight, you still have to enter life’s grappling match. There’s no escape from it. Of course then, we can choose to hide and not enter life’s grappling arena, but by not choosing to do that you’re hurting yourself and selling yourself short daily. Never knowing your real potential as a human being. I’m not applying that you have to go through life on your own merit and strength all the time, but you do know have to know how to survive in life’s clinch. Because when it grabs on to you, it’s grip is a vice grip, and you will need to learn how to use base, connection and leverage to get out of its grip. In practice, when we learn to grapple from the clinch and we are fighting for position, it can seem like a never ending struggle, your heart beating fast and lungs burning. Yet, if you slowly learn over time, to not let your thoughts and emotions get the better of you. You have a victory that is one of the sweetest experiences in life. Will we win every grappling match in life? Not a chance, you will be tapped out and choked out more times than you can count. You might want to stay on the ground for a while, but find that deep inner strength to get back up.

The Disabled Man- And Manhood

I think that one aspect of manhood (that I am very passionate about) that isn’t talked about much at all. Is the reality of manhood and disability. Over the last several months I’ve seen all kinds of videos on how  to be more of an alpha male and so on. Most of these videos are geared toward abled-bodied men, who can walk, drive and have a very different set of life circumstances than a man with cerebral palsy. Now, this is difficult for me to write, because I confess that I’m not where I want to be in life. I’m thirty-five, almost  thirty-six and I still live in my parents’ house, don’t drive  and don’t work your typical job. As I’ve spent the last several lives trying to live the entrepreneur life, and for the most part I’ve done well for myself. There’s just these two areas of my life, that I have yet to break through in. Sometimes though, this makes me feel like less of a man or less than I could be. Even though, functionally speaking I have a ton to offer. It can be difficult though, simply because some people can’t see past the physical circumstances of ones life. The last woman I dated I can remember her being a bit hesitant early on, because she thought about what it would be like eventually introducing me to her friends. Which really sucks that that is even a reality, but I have to think, how many other men like me are there in the world that feel as I do. Who can sometimes feel like less of a man because they are physically different or have different life circumstances? It’s very numbing to the mind and heart. What happens then, is we stop taking chances in life because of the thoughtful reality that we might never find the physical acceptance that we desire.

What I’ve come to realize though, is that I-we- you still have divine worth regardless of whether or not a person accepts us for who we are or not. And its hardly a reflection on us as it is the other person. Simply because one is not where they want to be either, doesn’t mean that you won’t get there either. It may take someone a longer period of time, but it is still possible. Some people in life are late bloomers, but they still bloom. And I think that is something that needs to be more appreciated in life.   And I think that’s largely because our society wants everything right now.

Growing up my father raised me in the martial arts, which only helped me become a masculine man and warrior. He let me fall, get bumps and bruises. He always told me to stick out my chest when I stood up. And I think that that’s what I want for others like myself, to be strong in every way. Some  may not be able to physically fight like I can. But they can learn to protect their minds and hearts of those they love. I believe that regardless of whether a man is in wheel chair, he should be healthy and fit in as much as he can. Along with cleaning up the nutrition portion of life. I think a man should know how to control his thoughts and emotions. I think a man, should rid himself of the victim mentality. Also, men should learn to control their own lusts-in more ways than one. I think that men need to figure out who they are, what they do and do not want in life. I want to teach men like me to be strong and courageous, even in spite of having different abilities and life circumstances than the next guy. Disabled men truly need this, because lets face it too much life has passed and I haven’t seen anything done about this silent crisis. I believe I’m just the guy to do it.       

How To Be A Bad Ass Human Being

Tips For Being A Bad Ass Human Being

Human beings are amazing, we can do so much with our bodies and minds every single day of our lives. My own existence is something that I simply do not thank God for on a regular. Rather I piss-moan and groan about how much my life sucks. Anyone who knows anything about my own story, knows that the deck was stacked against me. And yet, by the grace of God I have gone onto obtain multiple degrees and certifications. Even though doctors told me I would always be dependent on others, and even though educational professionals told me I didn’t have what it took to attend university. We human beings have forgotten how beautiful our own existence is, we have lost sight of the fact that we can all be bad asses in our own right. So what are a few tips to become that person?

Finding Your Mental Resolve: We don’t like to hear this, but the only way we truly find our resolve, the only we become mentally and emotionally tougher is through hardship and challenges. Some of us have had very tough and painful lives, and because of that, it’s easy to feel defeated and buried under the ashes of life. Yet, we have forgotten that we can rise from those ashes. I am not always a believer of pulling up oneself by their boot straps. Though, at times in life, you will have to do that. Much more I am a believer of being shaped and allowing yourself to be molded and mentored by other people who truly care about you. I am eternally grateful that God gave me parents who not only told me I was strong, but showed me I was. I am also thankful that God let me experience all the suffering in my life. I’m thankful that he led me through the valley of death. Because it made me who I am today. Find the good in your life, face the darkness in your own life, try more and more every day, to not listen to the lies in your mind any longer. Suffering comes for us all, in different ways throughout our lives. As such, we should always have our armor ready when the fight comes, in the name of not being blindsided by an attack. Some of us are so comfortable with our own comfort, that the slightest bit of adversity sends us packing. Learn to be steady and calm and adversity, because the storm always passes.

Enjoy Solitude: This is art form, I have been working on more and more in my life. I have come to love solitude, by myself and without distraction. Some of us are afraid to be alone with our own thoughts, have to always be doing something. But there’s really happiness and healing, in being able to be still, and see what resonates inside us. It’s in the stillness of the night, that we can discover who we are, what we have to work on and where we want to go. It was in the solitude of my heart, that I discovered that the creator of the heavens and earth was drawing me to himself, he was making me a new creation, a strong soldier and a seeker of how he sees me. Get comfortable being your own company, interact with the thoughts in your own mind, no matter how dark and uncomfortable they may be. Get a journey, write things down, it could be a method of healing from trauma, holding yourself accountable for goals. Our biggest problem in society, is that we are constantly seeking information outward and we are not spending enough time discovering who we are and how bad ass we can be. Start seeking solitude today, even if you’re a parent, find time early in the morning, or even for a few minutes before bed. Take stock of your life. You will be better because of it.

Listen To Others: I’ve always been more of a listener than talker, and I honestly like it that way. Listening to others should be pretty self-explanatory, but some of us talk so much and we don’t listen enough. When we do that, we miss out on being teachable. We miss out on exercising empathy and compassion for others, who might be in a time of darkness. With utilizing our ability to listen, rather than speak. We have a better chance at showing others a light covered path to hope.

Become The Healthiest You: This will look different for each person, because we all have different abilities. But we all could be a bit, or even a lot more healthier in our lives. As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I haven’t worked with a lot of people with different abilities. The reoccurring theme, with working with a wide variety of clients, is that if you commit to the process of getting better each day, with proper nutrition and exercise you will see results. Yes, things take time, but that’s the beauty of it, in that we get to embrace the process and see the small changes gradually. The instant gratification that we crave with our health and the rest of our lives isn’t real. Nutrition and fitness are two categories of life that have been made overall complicated. As a whole, I feel that quite a few us could do much better, by saying no to a lot of processed foods, and yes to more water, protein, and some fruits and vegetables if you like them. (I’m not convinced that we need them and function fully).
In terms of fitness, you don’t always have to have a gym membership. Nor do you have to go balls to wall for hours on end. I did CrossFit for a number of years, and as much as I love it. Not all your workouts have to be that intense to get a good workout in. If you’re new to the world of fitness, I suggest taking a few 10 minute walks every day, (gradually work your way to a jog) while starting to master the push up (even if it’s on your knees) along with other variations and challenges to pushups as you go along. And mastering a good squat form- in different variations, weighted and single legged squats. Because we all do it every day. Just with those exercises alone, you can do a lot with those daily movements and habits.
Next, get yourself a pull up bar or some rings, you really can build a lean strong body with these two pieces of equipment. With rings, you can utilize harder variations of push- ups, dips, planks and bridges to build the core- etc.
Kettle Bells are great too, especially the swing, because it’s a total body movement that even throws in cardio at the same time.

Christians-Gods Temple- Redeeming Health

When I was attending my first bible college, we were discussing the every quoted verse in 1 Corinthians 6:19. Which reads “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” Interestingly enough, there are all kinds of interpretations to this verse, anything from drugs, tattoos, suicide, sex and even health. Most of us, in our chapel discussion agreed that in had to do with our health and honoring God with our lives.

I spoke up about how I thought, that I strongly believe that as Christians we ought to be doing our best to take care of our bodies. In all all aspects: mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Not always in that order.

I’ll never forget it, when a rather loud black woman piped up and said “I don’t need to take care of my health, I’m dying anyway and in Heaven I’m gonna get a new body.” My first thought in that moment and even now is, that can’t be right or true. Yes, I do affirm that on the other side of life, Christians will have glorified bodies that are free from sin and decay.

But to assume that we can just let ourselves go, and let illness and death simply take us over. Is frankly sinful and a smack in the face to God, because he blessed us with life. It is then our response to honor him back. In my years of Christ, I have seen so many people walk through the church doors. Including pastors.

It’s sad that we have readily accepted this reality. I don’t think it is enough as believers, to simply ready ourselves for death. No, we still have much purpose and mission in this life. And as such our bodies need to be ready for the tasks at hand. This could mean, preparing your body and mind, for a time of raising children up. Working a job that requires heaving lifting etc.

Even if you have a desk job, guess what? you still need to honor God with your body. This could be a simple, as saying no to fast food and choosing healthier options. It could very well mean preparing food the night before. The point is, Christians need to think more broadly about how we honor God with the temples we inhabit.

It’s both the inside and the out.

Its my personal belief that Jesus Christ himself, was a fairly in shape person. After all, he walked almost everywhere and worked with his body. Who are we to be any different. We truly are without excuse.

The Spiritual Side of Fasting

Fasting is the new thing in the health and fitness. People are either doing intermittent fasting , prolonged fasting or even dry fasting. Which means no water at all. As I mentioned in a previous entry, intermittent fasting is something that I have been practicing for several months now.

And to be honest with you, I love it! I typically eat between 7 AM and stop somewhere before 4PM. And don’t eat until the next morning. Plenty of water is consumed in between, on average I’m pulling anywhere between 16-20 hours. The longest I have fasted is a full 24.

The health benefits of I.F. for me, have been improved mood, gut health, better sleep, much less joint pain, more energy and so on. And again, I love this practice, but what some people don’t realize, is that the practice of fasting is nothing new. Ancient religions have been practicing fasting for thousands of years. Though in many religions, fasting is typically dry.

One of the biggest components when it comes to fasting, particularly in the Christian tradition. Is to bring us back to the understanding that we are not sufficient in and of ourselves. But that God is all sufficient for his people. What happens for in my own fasting and spiritual practice, is that everything comes to the surface for me. Meaning that all the areas that I know I need to improve, things I need to deal with and or repent of come floating up.

It’s as though, fasting is the water that brings things to surface, when we humans try to drowned them out. Fasting lets me know that I am not as in control as I allow myself to believe. It allows me the understanding, that I haven’t arrived and have a long way to go. It beckons to utter the words, “Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner”.

I highly encourage a lot of people to fast, especially for the reasons mentioned above. Start slow and work your way into longer windows of fasting. The health benefits are great, but know that there’re deeper, more satisfying reasons to fast if you’re willing to give it a shot.

We Adapt. Or We Die.

I don’t believe that having a disability is a means to completely stop a person, from leading a great life. Be it mentally, physically or spiritually. I don’t. Sharing my story is something I do all the time. And if you know anything about me, you will know that I have had the deck stacked against me since day one.

Perhaps it’s because I had parents that pushed me in the direction that I am now, I’ve been at the bottom. For awhile I listened to all the negative crap that people spoke into my life. I let the words of people barrie me deep- in a pit of nonsense.

Again, if it wasn’t for my family pushing me to be more. I’m positive in knowing that I would still be in the hopeless place. I feel as though its my mission in life to tell people (especially those with disabilities). That they can be more, they don’t always have to listen to doctors, teachers or feel entrapped by their own disability.

For years, I hated my body, I didn’t think that my mind or body could improve. Yes, I will always have CP, but no it will not keep me from being the strongest and healthiest that I possibly can be. Yes, I still may have bouts with depression and anxiety but I will always rise.

Make the most of what you have. Work with what you got.

If you can only lift a certain about of weight, with one side of your body. That’s fine. If one side of your body is stronger, I can deal with that. If you don’t have much mobility in your lower body, there are ways to adapt to the context in which you find yourself. But staying in a mindset in which there is no growth: Mentally, physically or spiritually is equal to death.

Because if we do not choose to allow ourselves to grow, every single day. We will die without every really knowing who we are. We adapt. Or we die.

My Heart As A Trainer and Coach (For the adaptive community)

Being a personal trainer/nutrition coach, has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. And as I have written in a previous post, it was something that I hesitated from doing. For reasons of there not being enough money etc. I went ahead and ignored all the antagonist thoughts in my head and got certified in both!

I’ve been working the up hill climb at trying to gain a steady clientele, it’s difficult and even frustrating. Yet, at risk of sounding like an ego filled/puffed up human being. I’m going to brag about a few accomplishments , because I’m very proud of them.

The first notable one, was when I stared working with a young woman who had a worse form of cerebral palsy (CP) than I did. when I first started doing online coaching with her (which is what I do with all my clients) she could barely make her hands in the shape of a fist. In fact, doctors wanted to perform an operation on her to correct it. I didn’t think that surgery should be an option, unless we explored all the options.

After learning about my clients goals, I went ahead both a nutrition and fitness plan for her. For the simple reason, that I wanted her to be healthy and strong from the inside out. Long story short, after several weeks of staying as focused and disciplined as possible. She was able to open and close her hands! Much more, she was able to take a few steps assisted.

This to me has meant so much, and if as coach this is my greatest victory. I’m some what okay with that. There have been others with CP and other adaptive needs, that I have helped, in the areas of weight loss, gaining mobility and strength and so on. But the above story is most notable. Of course, I strive for others with CP and other needs to be their healthiest selves.

For we get one life and one body, and if we don’t take care of it. The consequences are much greater. My heart as a trainer, is to help clients adopt a healthy mindset and vision for their lives. Everything is mindset, which I believe sets me apart from other trainers, because some just focus on the body. Without taking stock of whats going on in the mind.

Our bodies are a gift, they might function differently, but they are a gift non the less. As such, we should be doing all that we can to take care of them each day. Eating more protein, drink more water, consume less sugar and so on. We should be doing all we can to make our bodies strong, even if all you can do is work your arms, do that! Make the most of what you got.

Learn to lay aside the fear, the doubts, the what ifs and start carving out the person you want to be. It’s not as difficult or impossible as you think, it just takes discipline, time and focus. But it can be done!

I’m here to help!

Discipline and The New You!

I was talking with a client this more, and something that I said to them really struck me. It was the idea of dialing in your discipline. Meaning that one:

Discipline begins again every single day, what this really comes down to, is knowing why we are being disciplined for in the first place. Makes sense? And so for my client, they have this vision of themselves of who they want to be.

And they want to reach that goal, that space and time in their lives. For themselves, not because they want to be like anyone else. But because they want to be happy, healthy, whole and complete for no one else but them.

I can’t begin to tell you how revolutionary this, because then they can reach a place where they stop comparing themselves to others. Stop looking and obsessing over the numbers on the scale, because they aren’t defined by that anyone or anything else.

But again, this takes discipline, the discipline to not spend so much time scrolling through social media. Choosing to be discipled in waking up early, appreciating the gift of a new day.

The discipline of choosing the right foods, drinking enough water. The disciple to say no to food and other things in life that will only hinder you. This all starts with a choice that isn’t merely cognitive, but it is a choice that has to resonate within our full nature. It has to change ever part of you.

This can true for you as well, you just have to decide in the here and now.

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You and The Vending Machine

Wow,

Thank you for all the likes on my latest post, for all the new subscribers. I really hope to help and inspire people however I can!

Okay, that aside, I was asked to write a blog on combating the desire to go the vending machine when you are at work or in need of a quick repass, or something to get you through the day. More specially, that nagging antagonist in your mind, that tells you to cure your hunger by getting a 50 cent or dollar snack.

Now, I fail at nutrition too, a lot and sometimes I give into the temptation too. We are humans and we will make mistakes whether we like it or not. Let’s be honest about that. Much more, let us know our enemies all the more.

What I mean is, know, when your enemy sets out to attack on a daily basis. And be ready for it, better yet attack the enemy before they can attack you. I know I’m using very militant language. But when it comes to our health and nutrition, we have to be disciplined and go out on the attack.

Be it, making sure that you maybe pack healthy snacks with you, the night before. And drink plenty of water. Eat more foods that leave fuller longer, steak and higher protein foods. When you have that temptation, even finding a corner and knocking out some push ups or burpees.

Make every effort to make war against the temptation, because that mid day snack isn’t going to get you closer to your goals. Of being healthy, happier, more alive, satisfied and focused. It will get you off course faster than anything.

But.. But.. If you do get off track, please remember not to beat your self up, but dust your self off and get back on the path. Even if you do have a cheat day- that’s fine, but than start pounding the water and getting back on it. Typically, when our bodies tell us that we are hungry, and we crave the cheap and easy foods, our bodies crave nutritionist.

So apply discipline, and feet it healthy things. Learn to say no, imply windows of fasting and starve your body of its desire of processed craving. In our lives, we can leave behind legacy, one that can go on for those after us. That starts by making small changes today, in the here and now.

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