Athais' Training Journal

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Athais created the topic: Athais' Training Journal

After a six month hiatus from the community, I have decided to come back and pursue my studies. I know, I know. Yep, I come and go like the tides of the ocean, but I have had a lot of time to think about things, deal with some family issues, etc. I lost a very good friend to a car accident, watched another friend and his family lose everything to a fire, and tagged along with my daughter dealing with the up and down emotions that went with her apartment being gutted by fire.

When you have lost someone, or nearly lost someone, that you love very much, it is a life changing experience. Walking through my friend's house and helping him salvage what little, and I mean little, he could and then doing the same with my daughter really made me realize how fragile life is and how little time we have on this earth. It also made me realize that I have not been the best person that I could be.

I still continued to train and meditate throughout those six months. The one major change is that I have lost nearly 40 pounds through a change in diet and exercise. I walk about 4.5 miles a day on my treadmill and have been doing some weight lifting as well. Meditation takes up 45 minutes each day and has been very helpful in determining the path that I wish to follow. I still continue with tai chi and yoga, but the bulk of my time is spent on the treadmill.

I have set many goals for myself, the main one being to finish my studies here. I eventually want to do a 5K. I registered for one later this month, but it will probably be more a run/walk 5K than anything. Still, it is a start and I am happy that I have gotten into good enough shape to do it.

At any rate, I am glad to be back and will enjoy catching up on all the posts that I have missed. I will submit a POS when I get time.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

Welcome back !

"Life" tends to be a big factor in the coming and goings and new directions around here.

Congrats and 'outstanding' on losing 40 pounds.
(care to share the secret?)

Again, welcome back...
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Jax replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

That's a lot to deal with in a short period of time. I hope we can offer what you need.
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Athais replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

:thanks Kol.

Yes, life has its ways of giving us things to reflect upon and promote changes, hopefully positive, in our lives.

As for the weight loss, I have been logging into myfitnesspal.com every day since some day near the end of October. Have not missed yet.

I walk 2.25 miles in the morning and another 2.25 miles in the evening. This allows me to eat a little more than the 1200 calories that myfitnesspal (fondly called MFP) allows me. Basically, I pay attention to my net calories, calculated by exercise minus calories ingested. I try to keep them between 350 and 500. This seems to be the magic number for me. This does not mean that it will work for everyone, because we all are different.

I am also lifting weights to tone as well as increase my metabolism. I bought Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, but can't seem to find time to do it. Plus, I don't own a television and seeing her on this little computer screen is really difficult. Eventually, I will pick up a used tv from my friend, which will help me out in that department.

There is one cool thing about all this: Because I am exercising so hard, my metabolism has increased. This has affected my thyroid. Seems that it is working better with all this exercise and my physician is having a cow trying to adjust my thyroid medicine downwards to accomodate the change. I love this, because I really would like to get off the thyroid medicine, which may eventually be a possibility.
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Athais replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

:thanks Jax.

I have worked through most of it. It has all been devastating, but my friend was able to corral a lot of Habitat for Humanity workers to help rebuild his home. He has five children and finding a place for them to stay was quite hard, but they are in the home now and doing fine. I helped my other friend's wife with babysitting and such, as well as listening through the greiving period, and things are better for her now as well. Not fantastic, because those two were really meant for each other, but better.

All in all, the loss of my friend has left a hole in my heart. We did a lot of work together for Habitat and spend a lot of time together, his family and mine. It really left me lost for a while there. Life goes on, though, and perspectives change. There is always something that needs dealt with in life, but if there wasn't, life wouldn't be so much fun. ;)
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Athais replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

I sometimes wonder about people and their idea of power. Today, I was meditating and the answer to what power is came to me. Of course, much of what comes to each of us through meditation is often influenced by our experiences and perceptions. Therefore, my understanding of what is power may be different from another’s concept regarding power.

To me, power is about being able to make positive changes in my life and in the lives of others. This kind of power does not have anything to do with control.

In order for positive change to occur in my life, I must first recognize the change that needs to take place. This recognition means that I must be willing to see the negative aspects of myself as well as the positive aspects. It is through seeing those negative aspects that I can make the changes necessary in my life.

My daughter spent part of the day with me and was bemoaning about something that I would have once found just as irritating as she was currently finding it. Something happened as I aged. That something has been a mellowing factor, possibly due to the fact that I now recognize that I once demonstrated the same impatience, egotism, self-importance, and judgmental attitude that many people demonstrate today.

This comes from the fact that I am realizing that each trait that others demonstrate are also traits that I have or could possibly demonstrate. With that understanding comes the power to change myself and how I feel toward others. This allows me to be more compassionate and forgiving toward others.

To me, the ultimate power is knowing that I am justified to hate another person, but forgiving them instead. One could say that this is a true test of power as well as kindness.

Many people often scoff at the relatives of victims who state that they forgive the person that murdered their loved one. Sometimes I have difficulty with these things, especially when I question where that forgiveness is coming from. Is it forgiveness given due to religious mandate? Or is it forgiveness given from the heart alone?

Forgiveness given due to religious mandate is, to me, false forgiveness. It is like saying, “I have to forgive you or else God will punish me.” This is not true forgiveness.

Forgiveness that is given from the heart is true forgiveness. This kind of forgiveness is the kind that I equate with power. It is not given because the person was forced to do so through peer pressure, religious pressure, or any other pressure. It is forgiveness that is given in recognition that to do so not only heals the person doing the forgiving, but also heals the person forgiven.

Power also is not achieved through deception or manipulation. Power is achieved by recognizing right action and acting upon it. Not everyone will be accepting of what a person sees as right action. In such cases, doing what is in the best interests for the majority of people, animals, etc. is the proper use of power.

Intention has a lot to do with power as well. When a person does something with the intention of only bettering his or her position or status, this falls under deception. If a person is truly doing something in order to improve themselves or others, no deception is necessary. Presenting the issue in the clearest manner possible while putting forth the benefits of change should promote buy-in of the action that will be taken. If buy-in is not achieved, then the people involved are not ready to change or they don’t see what is necessarily wrong. Further discussion may be necessary, but deception should not be used.

Having power means that one has the ability to say that maybe change is not really possible at this time. Perhaps waiting a few more months would mean success in facilitating change. It may be possible that the message was not communicated clearly. In such cases, taking a step back to re-examine the message content may be necessary.

Additionally, sometimes it is necessary to have others do the work. In some cases, the individuals affected may not be receptive to the messenger. In such cases, it may be necessary to find someone in and amongst the individuals affected who can act as an intermediary.

Many people who seek the wrong kind of power, the type of power that is meant to elevate them and achieve them a title or a certain status, are unwilling to work with intermediaries. They often must use deception and manipulation in order to make something happen. If those two things do not make change occur, they will literally force change down the throats of others in order to get what they want. In such cases, they mistakenly believe that they have power, but this really isn’t power at all.

In short, power is the ability to make positive change happen in my life and in the lives of others. Power also means that I am able to forgive another even though I would be justified in hating them. Those with power do not use deception or manipulation in order to make change occur. Additionally, when people are not open to change, those with power do not force the change upon people in order to get what they want.
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Athais replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

I walked a 'virtual' 5K tonight.

Okay, okay. It was walked on the treadmill. This is a milestone for me, though. It puts me in fantastic position to do the run/walk 5K coming up later this month.

When I started this weight loss/walking program, I couldn't manage a mile on the treadmill at 3.0 with no incline. Now I walk at an incline of 10, usually at 4.2 mph.

The walk tonight was at an incline of 10 at 3.8 mph. I wasn't going for time. I was going for reinforcement that I could do it.

For me, the knowledge that I did it once is enough to get me to do it again. If I start to falter, I just tell my old body, "Come on. You know you can do it. You've done it before."

Once my body hears that, it kicks into gear and works for it. Sometimes it is a struggle and sometimes it comes easy.

Usually the walks in the morning are easier than the ones in the evening. I don't know why. I just know that for me they are easier.

I do the walk in the morning on an empty stomach, at 4.2 mph, incline of 10, for 2.25 miles. I had been doing the same in the evening, but with this 5K behind me, I think I will ramp it up a bit, try to get a good speed going. I want to push myself and see what I can accomplish when it comes to this 5K business.

I really want to get to the running stage, but couch-to-5K isn't doing it for me. I guess I can't train like that. Maybe it's age. Maybe it is just mindset. I don't know, but does it really matter how I train for a 5K. Isn't just getting to that point the important part? For me, it is.
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Jax replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

I like couch to 5k. But, I'd recommend Chi Running/Walking (as would Taijibum lol) for this. It'll be much kinder to your joints and lungs. There are threads in the fitness section here about it.
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Athais replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.“
~ Confucius

One thing that I have been doing is practicing voluntary simplicity. Because of this, I looke at everything that I am thinking about buying in a different way.

I’ve been thinking about buying two chairs for the living room. I only have a loveseat in the living room right now, which makes it hard to entertain more than one person. This summer, I would like to have my brother and his wife down a couple of times.

So I am torn between determining if these chairs would be wants or needs. On one hand, I see them as wants, since I do obviously want them. I see them as needs, as well, because I need more seating for entertaining. I really don’t like to have people over right now because I have no place for them to sit.

This is what voluntary simplicity has done to me. I now look at everything that I buy and eat as either a need or a want. Just like everyone else, I realize that there is always an initial feeling of excitement when something new is brought into the home. I have read studies, though, that reveal that people are only happy with their purchases for a short period of time.

This unhappiness is so short because either the purchase breaks or the person realizes that they now need something else to add to the initial purchase in order to enjoy it more. I liken this to buying a car and then needing a good stereo system or seat covers or floor mats or nicer hubcaps or a carport. I could also liken this to buying a television and needing a DVD player in order to enjoy movies. Then the movie collection will come next followed by a place to store the movies and so on.

I am not saying that people shouldn’t buy things. I am saying that when I consider a purchase, I take into consideration everything that I may need to enjoy that purchase before buying it. As for the chairs, I really would not need anything else. I have a table to put between them, so the room would be complete with only the chairs.

Americans are well known for renting storage space in order to store all those items that they have bought, but no longer need. They don’t want to part with them because they may need them in the future. Maybe they want to hold on to them for their children or grandchildren. Needless to say, the American landscape is littered with storage facilities to satisfy this overconsumption habit that so many Americans have.

If it isn’t the storage facilities, there are landfills all over the place filled with items that still are useful. I have pulled some really nice pieces of furniture from the garbage. One piece is a wooden high-chair. My violets are enjoying having their very own perch upon which to sit and take in the sunshine. The tray is the perfect size for three violets.

I also snagged a box of quart-size, wide-mouth canning jars. They were still in the original box with only one jar missing. I like to sprout my own greens, so I am holding on to them for when I find time to put them to use. Maybe this weekend will be a good time to set up the sprouts.

I have a small, wire-cage storage space in my apartment building. I share the room that it is in with the other tenants. I can’t help but notice that the spaces for the people from other countries – Puerto Rico and India – are almost empty even though two of them have been here for several years. I wonder what they think when they look at the storage cages of us American tenants and see all the boxes of junk that we own.

I believe that the accumulation of ‘stuff’ is a way for Americans to justify that they have become successful. There is most likely a lot of self-worth wrapped up in much of what Americans buy, but don’t really need. The need to own brand names, the biggest or largest item, the latest trend, etc. is driven by self-worth. Within each item bought, the person’s self-worth is embedded.

Identity is often wrapped up in the items that we own. I have noticed that people often compare their cellphones against that of their friends or co-workers. They do the same with other things that they own. It is as if the ego will suffer if their item is not better, or at least equal to, that of the other person. The media does this to us by pushing the newest, latest gadget, saying that we must have it in order to appear smarter, more sophisticated, wealthier, etc.

What did we do when we lived in the 1960 and 1970s? We didn’t have these things, yet here we are today, alive and well. Our egos are intact and we did not suffer for not owning the new gadgets that are now on the market.

Losing weight has really made me look at my life, and especially the accumulation of material things, a lot differently. The more cluttered my living space is, the more my inner space appears to be cluttered. Piles and piles of material things have held me back from truly understanding myself and finding my inner peace.

They say that ‘less is more’. Until recently, I didn’t realize how this could be true. Over the last five or six months, with cleaning out my kitchen and other areas of my home, I have come to realize that there is beauty in space. I failed to recognize that a counter without anything on it or a closet with less things in it can be beautiful.

Opening up the space in my home has really helped in finding that feeling of peace that lives within myself. It also means that there is less to clean. I no longer worry about having anything stolen or losing anything. I don't own anything that is really worth a lot, except for this computer. Everything has a place in my home, so I can find it easily. This means that I have more time to do those things that I really want to do.

Some people feel guilty when they look at what they bought with the intention of using it. Many people purchase exercise bikes or treadmills with the intent of using them, but they may eventually turn into fancy coat racks, leading the owner to feel guilty every time they look at them. (I was like this the first year after buying my treadmill.) In this manner, the outer world is a reflection of the inner world. Declutter the outer world and the inner world will follow suit.

The last thing is that I have come to appreciate more what I do own. Having less is causing me to appreciate that which I do have. This kind of appreciation is the seed for abundance of the mind and soul. Cleaning out my home and my life, leaving only the essentials, is allowing me to better enjoy what I do have.

By having less, I am able to enjoy my life more. This has required a change in perspective. One thing is that I really need to realize what I value most. Then I had to focus on those things that I value. In so doing, I have been able to take the time to enjoy all the simple things that life has to offer.

For me, having a low carbon footprint is very important. I am really getting into buying books for my Kobo and donating things I don't need to the Goodwill or other place. To me, living simply is just a part of any path that emphasizes an understanding of the inner person. The outer person is a reflection of the inner person. My inner person felt cluttered until I started cleaning out my home. With each room cleaning, another area of my inner self is left uncluttered.
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Beral Khan replied the topic: Re: Athais' Training Journal

I enjoy your posts. I also agree about Americans being trained that you measure success by the amount of stuff and the price of that stuff.

It can be hard for many to break that cycle and measure their personal success by other means.

I used to trust my force of Will.
Now I trust in the will of the Force.

Jedi Communication? Well its removing assumptions, questioning the absolutes, and asking for clarity of statements.
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