Chief Heavy Stick Walks Lightly
Welcome to the beginning of the end, the end of the beginning. The time has arrived and it is our duty to answer back the mighty call of the wild. Our honorable journey takes a quiet first step on this the 11th of August, 2011. So let us mark our ascent of the mighty precipice that is our great and vast outdoors on the solid foundation of two pillars. (It seems (at least to me) rather appropriate to celebrate this departure in a way that is intelligently designed and deftly symbolic). The eleventh is a preponderately insightful number, and as much as zero denotes the hollow precursor to the first, the base ten is decisively eclipsed by a most odd and elegant of numbers. Like the two trunks that hold our upright bodies perpendicular, this date will be associated with balance and symmetry as it supports our noble vision of the world around us.
Today was self-prescribed as the hallmark of greatest chronological significance as it gently shifts the climate from summer to fall. Now, knowing well enough its importance was self-imposed, I must admit a surprisingly keen experience was had, in addition to seeing colors more vibrantly (the grass in my yard seemed flourescent) and the faintest sense that the cooler breath of autumn was waffling in the August wind. Something even more astonishing than these more terrestial awakenings occurred to me, an illumination of a more ethereal kind, a symbolic message of sorts.
It really can be summed up in a trifecta of experiential imagery that haunted me throughout the day. My shoes were persistently untied, my cycle’s crankshaft nut was mysteriously loose (ALL OF A SUDDEN), and when I went to adjust the cold water in the shower I noticed the knob, whose loose screw I’ve had ongoing mischief with was once again poking its head out. I was coming off the hinges, busting at the seams, as if I was pregnant and all that needed to happen now was to break my water. I must bear witness and confront my bullies. I must not be deterred or intimidated by self-doubt and peer-pressure. I know now what has always been my truth: strength is greater than force.
I have come to realize the way I envision outdoor fitness has been with me since my earliest days and there are many like-minded advocates out there like myself. They are the people who flirt with the idea of climbing a tree as an adult. If you don’t, then I’m sure there is still a piece of you that remembers fondly the summer afternoons spent wildly swinging like monkeys from limb to limb. If this is still not relating, then you need this reprogramming the most.
We are children, meant to feel infinite and boldly defiant, not tired and reclusive. We are the fruits of natural order and chaos, and we can no longer seek to fashion ourselves in the mold of building blocks. We must get out of the box, so that we may orbit the sphere, stripping away the layers and facing our fear. There is such divine pleasure in the calm command (calm man) of our pain.
This is not merely exercise, but a radical reformation of the way we view ourselves. Both our strength and our wisdom stem from the fundamental assertion that “We Are! We Can! and We Will!” Today we remove sidelines and endlines for the open promise of free will and expression. The world is my idea, the time is now to reflect it.
Eleven is the beginning of a new generation, a higher order of the human family. They will dig deeper roots into the ground from which to conduct their innate energetics outward into each other and upward into the cosmos announcing their divine and inalienable existence. We are the heraldry of this millenial movement and will bear the stress of the mighty pillars. Plant two feet upon the earth and direct your hands vertically to the heavens. We represent the monument and through our relationship to the 5th prime are the beams of eternity.
Two amazing and important events have happened within the bulge of this Arizona summer that will be instrumental to envisioning the overarching design and impact of this new paradigm of fitness. Firstly, I got the hell out of dodge and tripped in and out of Denver (been there one other time) on a buddy-pass stand-by mission accomplished to meet up with the Dry River Yacht Club where we played at the Underground Music Showcase. Great show, great event, greater city. And secondly, I just finished off my day by exercising in the middle of an electric storm, a typical southwest monsoonal clash of cloudbursts firing bolts over my head. Both of these, I believe, will have far-reaching pronouncements.
First off, and most obviously, the grass is much greener in Colorado than it ever will be in Arizona (in my lifetime) and a summertime introduction to its spacious terrain has caused excitement with the potential for outdoor fitness. Here is a state that prides itself on its wealth of outdoor activities and has a certain ethic and appreciation for its noble landscape. Mountain climbing and biking are unparalleled in this majestic garden of the gods (yeah, there’s one of those too) and the parks are incomparable for their natural display. Being in the midst of a bike-forward, park-friendly, activity heightened metropolitan culture, I was aroused with anticipation for the promise of an externalized world. One that we could interact and communicate with, feeling its joy as well as our own. Some cities are certainly better situated for getting out and experiencing the universe, but it’s always a matter of perspective.
Now when you return from Denver, where the high of 93 is bothersome to its inhabitants, and dive back into the swelter of 110’s with the barometer rising, you may find it difficult to accept, much less appreciate, the temper of an Arizona afternoon, especially when you’re cycling through it’s raging traffic jams, exhausted by the parade of unmotivated carnage. It can be grueling, but I rather enjoy traversing intersections and traveling along canal paths on my single-speed roadbike. It doesn’t seem to get me down. But while I’ve come to respect my deserted inheritance, my just deserts, for its unique geographical formations and singular climate currents, I can easily perceive Colorado as the muse for John Denver’s music. I almost feel a surge of song myself.
And yet this afternoon and evening spent training under the influence of an electromagnetic storm sent ripples to the core of this program. While coordinating a circuit in the Carminati schoolyard, a massive cloud swept over me, attended by rolling thunder and furious intentions. I thought to myself how interesting the triple threat of thunder, lightning, and rain. It occurred to me that there are three types of people along this order. There are Thunder Clouds; people who kick up dust and noise (revolutionaries for instance). There are Lightning Bolts; people who create energetic charges which originate the uproar and inspire us (artists). And there are Rainmakers; people who soften the impact of both and nourish the ground between them (healers or teachers). This was a very satisfying insight.
Later, as I rode to band practice, I witnessed the awesome illumination of the atmosphere, incited with the excitement of cloud to cloud charges. I marveled at the specter, unwittingly experiencing the progression through this tribunal of archetypes.
When our practice neared its end the rain came sudden and heavy. I negotiated my cello into the violinist’s car while I rode my bike home, a mile away. No sooner had I began pedaling but the rain ceased and the air seemed to catch itself, suspended like an inhalation. I made my way home, parked, and knelt in my backyard in the middle of an electric field. I breathed it in and consumed its portentous energy.
Slowly, the rain accumulated and escalated into a moderate downpour. I gathered my components and lifted weights for 45 minutes and imagined I was a lightning rod (because I was with a dumbbell in my hand). I’ve never felt so invigorated. This type of energetic event doesn’t show up every day, so I embraced it and am now even more convinced of the physical awakening that takes place in this sort of exposure. A primitive delight prevailed as I became transformed by the visceral elements and I literally felt like a tuning prong resonating with wider wavelengths, somehow humming with relaxed readiness.
I think I just laid my cornerstone. It’s time to pierce the sky.
The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. Ah, the modern feary tale. That’s like being in love with love. If you make relationships based on abstraction, no real connections are gained. There is more pride and honor in embracing fear, confronting it daily, and making peace with it as a natural force in the universal order. It is primitively rooted and while it has played a prominent role in the survival of our species, it is an emotion that, when wrestled and pinned into our understanding gives rise to a higher strata of feeling and desires. It is of the highest importance to recognize the real fear factors that line the hallways of our minds and corner us into being anything less than great. These are the layers of ourselves, manifested in the physical world that fall away to reveal a helpless child in the darkness, grasping desperately for the illusory comforts of the ego. Are we not our own worst enemy?
Whether we are tormented by the common cold symptoms of poor health, or the constraints of a weakened physique, or we are challenged by the inferiority of physical size or mental discipline, or we just feel deflated by the differences in our appearance compared and contrasted by the current aesthetic of the fashion industry which weighs down its judgement on all our tiny and abundant imperfections, we are accountable for the way we dismiss or endorse these imbalances. We are fully capable of healing, (re)gaining strength, overcoming disadvantages and setbacks, and accepting difference as uniqueness. What is infirm today, becomes more resilient and determined tomorrow, and what is considered an error, becomes an admirable distinction. We allow outward, material judgements to seep into our psyche and become the internal template on which our thoughts and actions are predicated.
These images are real so long as we validate them, or co-create them. If we cannot look at these inhibitors honestly, we allow them to loom larger than life in the periphery shadows of our conscious lives. Only by shedding light on these wounds do we confront the impact they bear on us. The shadows of ignorance vanish into the quieting knowledge that truth awakens; foolhardy bliss is replaced by an awareness of human pain- yours and mine.
We have looked the other way and refused to admit the enormity of self-guilt and self-loathing to which each of us is tethered. We have dragged our unspeakable angst behind us, compounding the friction and resentment we inevitably feel with this inanimate burden. It has remained inseparable from our being as an object unknown, a source of misery unseen. Is it not for the greater good that we gather up and carry aloft the devices of our enslavement so that we may cradle these as we would the frightened child in the corner?
Stand in the light, dance in the fire, cast a short shadow upon your Mother Earth and feel the joy as she trembles beneath you. We are meant to recreate, to play and sing and dance, to express ourselves by breathing in the chaos of uncertainty and exhaling the laughter of a meditative soul, unfettered by the transient blush and blemish. So even if you’re blinded or burned, acceptance of truth’s pain is necessary in order to transcend our terrestial conflict.
I renounce this day my ball and chain, my weight and pulley, my gym and monthly membership. I will, from this day forth, derive my means and ends, my roots and fruits, my toughness and my goings from the free space all around me, the free sky up above me, and the free spirit deep within me. I will no longer be dictated and ordered around by a building full of stationary treadmills and one dimensional muscle stations. I will obtain the strengthening and conditioning for my physical, mental, and emotional fitness in the free expression of my body as it creatively interacts in a free environment. I will not be compartmentalized into substations, insulated inside a digital bubble, looking comparatively askance at my neighbor on the adjacent hamster wheel. I will chart virtual courses of action within my home and upon playing fields, whether alone or along with my friends, and these will be the modes by which I will gain awareness of the innate melody of a body in motion and the symbiotic interplay of the world as my representation, my abundant recreation.