How Did I Get Here?
I have been many things. I have been a church attendee, a pagan, an atheist, and a guy on a spiritual journey. I have been a powerlifter, a boxer, a skateboarder, obese, and in shape. I have been happy, I have suffered depression, I have been focused, I have been scattered, I attempted suicide once, long ago. I have been a social drinker, which progressed to alcohol problems. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Now at 51, I have a lot of experiences to draw on to create my life. I now realize I am a spiritual being on a human journey. Everything spiritual I have done in my life brought me to this realization, the good and the bad. It is the same both physically and mentally.
Over the last couple of years, especially leading up to the age of 50, I have been experimenting. I have been setting challenges for myself drawing on all my experiences. This is how I got to where I am today. I am in a very happy and focused place. I have not stopped the challenges, the challenges are how I live my life. Here are my current challenges that I see bringing me into my later years in a supercharged fashion.
Challenge one: My practice. This is the most important to me. If you have been following here you know I have been hiding this part of my life from view for a while now. My spiritual life, my practice, is the thing that has made the most impact and benefit in my life. It is through practice that I am learning about my true being, and getting closer to God. I am becoming a more positive force. This challenge is not much of a challenge, it is building the habit and enjoying the ride. This daily practice includes my morning meditation, my oracle work, prayers, study, and mindfulness. There is not a part of my day now not touched by practice.
Challenge Two: Become Superhuman. That sounds crazy, but I don’t mean like a superhero. I am training my body and mind to combat depression, illness, and disease. While building my internal fortitude. For this, I use the Wim Hof Method. Wim Hof is pretty superhuman, so there is that. He holds many world records in cold exposure and athletics. It was his exposure to cold that lead him to create his method. He uses breathing, physical exercise, and cold exposure to benefit the brain and body. Once under clinical trials, the doctors injected him with E-coli. His body dealt with it in thirty minutes. That is superhuman! I do several rounds of WHM breathing at least three times a day. I do cold exposure, two minutes + cold showers, at least twice a day. And I perform his oxygen-deprived exercise once or twice a day.
Challenge Three: Diet, part one. I had been an on and off vegetarian for most of my life. My longest stint was ten years. At the age of 47, I realized nothing had to suffer for me to eat. This was a mental shift that happened in a moment. I knew right then that I will not use animal products. This change also started to give me the mental strength to start my other challenges. It was ground zero. This would rate higher, but this is not a challenge any longer, it is my way of life.
Challenge Four: Diet, part two. I fast. Intermittent fasting. Out of all the ways I have eaten over the years, from being fit to being obese, to my athletic days, this is the way of eating that has shown me the most benefit. I keep it simple. Five days a week I fast for 15 to 17 hours. Two to three days a month I extend that to 21 to 24 hours. Two days a week, usually weekends I eat breakfast and go about my day.
Challenge Five: Exercise. This one is less of a challenge and more a shift in the way I do things. I take care of my body through all the other challenges. From stress relief to vascular health, my other challenges all play a part. Exercise has always been important to me. Still, I have learned a lot in 51 years, and on top of that my goals are different. Now I work out all day. What I mean is I don’t schedule my hour to beat my own ass any longer. At my age recovery is not as good as it once was. Instead of an all-out assault on my body several times a week, I do sets thought the day, every day. Some sets are a bit rough, some are less. I am getting in my exercise and never pushing myself to the point where recovery is an issue. I do calisthenics, kettlebell work, band work, and walk/jogs. Of this, my kettlebell work is the most important. It keeps me strong, keeps my movement fluid, and gets my heart pumping.
Challenge Six: Read and Learn. I love Skillshare. I take all kinds of courses there. I also read, a LOT! The best defense against the sluggish mind is building new pathways in the brain. The key to this is to never give up your sense of wonder. Never stop learning. Always build new pathways and associations. This goes into my music as well. I still take courses in music, composing, and theory. There was once a convent where the sisters were part of a study that lasted over two decades.
They offered their brains to science. Even when showing telltale signs of Alzheimer’s in their brains, they showed no signs while alive. Guess what the factors seemed to be? I take that research to heart to at least better my chances as I age.
Challenge Seven: Stop drinking. I don’t need to go too deep into this one, but my life is 100% different, and better because of this challenge. I even seemed to lose the urge for drinks.
So, those are the challenges I use to keep myself sharp. In all areas. I add other challenges here and there to see if they will work out, but these are my mainstays. This is how I got to today, and hopefully a whole lot of tomorrows.