Igniting The Curiosity Within: Self-Experimentation

We all want to change in one form or another. Whether its vicariously through another’s endeavors or pure, raw personal evolution, we crave short term adjustment for long term settlement. Experimenting in all forms allows one to find tried and true methods for the future, overall awareness on the subject and to help others looking for a more direct and lasting lifestyle choice without the hassle*.

As a means of understanding more unorthodox styles to diet , health and wellness, I love to self-experiment and obsessively research all aspects of how to approach each concept. There are too many studies out there, convincing in both spectrums, which just confuse mainstream society and media. This leads to a “for or against” mentality, ( or completely unaware), and just creates tension, biased research claims and false advertising. The best way to become conscious in YOUR health, is to try them all. It’s like believing in a Religion since Birth and never asking or questioning the principles of another faith. You do some research and surprise!, the others may be living a happier, healthier, more conscious, and more spiritually tuned lifestyle without hassle, worry or unnecessary obligation…it’s that easy. Question everything and never lose your curiosity. If you want change, realize it’s temporary and make it happen. Manage expectations but keep the end in sight. Simple in text.

Here are the basic Health staples I apply every single day with no worries, no stress, no obligation and look forward to:

  • Vegan Diet: 8 years
  • Gluten-free: 4-6 years
  • One Meal A Day: 2+/- years
  • Cold Thermogenisis (1-2 Ice Soak/ Bath per day)
  • Sauna/Steam/ Hot Therapy(1-2 Sessions per day)
  • Daily Meditation
  • ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) Therapy for Sleep
  • Daily Yoga/ Self-Massage
  • Herbal Formulas
  • Fasting: Multi-Day (24-100 hrs) to Intermittent
  • Mono Meals
  • No salt/ sodium incorporation

With the purchase of a Blood Glucose Meter, Ketosis Strips and ph balance urinary test kit, I feel it is once again, a time to try and self-quantify, document and spread awareness on some of the fastest, easiest, and most efficient ways to get a clearer mind, a happier heart and a healthy body that allows you to perform any physical-based passion you choose. While conducting all tests I will continually rate my perceived exertion levels with my current running and cycling training. (15-25 hrs per week).

I will be testing and gradually incorporating multiple principles over time to get the most efficient means of an all around mind, body, soul upgrade. Below are some of the  upcoming experiments and methods of health and fitness that I am honored to try out. I realize that many people in this world don’t have the ability to test and quantify and when given the opportunity and drive, one shall always spread the love for those that want a jumpstart. Many of these tests are culturally applied throughout the world as a daily means of purification, spiritual enlightening and for overall well-being. By changing your mindset of what will encompass your daily region, you can alter your pre-conceived thoughts on conducting the action and it will be a simpler process altogether.

Health is a communal action and we must take care of one another through application of easily applied practical information.

“The poison is in the dose”.

To Be Tested:

  • 100 hour water fast
  • 12 hour meditation
  • Binaural Beat Therapy
  • Ketosis through a Vegan Diet
  • Slow Carb Diet
  • Increasing Ice Bath duration, frequency and monitoring fat loss, metabolic rate and energy/ sleep levels.
  • Increasing Sauna times, with exercise and stretching incorporation
  • 48 hour Vow of Silence- All black room, No light: Pupil Dilation, HR , sleep, perceived exertion through Endurance tests
  • 1,4,7,10 day Juice Cleanse
  • Continually improve my Static Apnea (Breath Hold ) training and focus on increased CO2 capacity
  • Raw Vegan Diet or Fruitarianism
  • Polyphasic Sleep
  • 24-80 Hours without sleep
  • Pain Tolerance through safe practical methods.
  • Alkaline Balancing Diet (ph level Testing)

If you have any questions, comments from personal experience or would like to start experimenting yourself, please feel free to get a hold of me or do some of your own research, it’s out there. Stay tuned and may you Run, Pedal, Smile & Breathe!

Herb of the day: Ilex paraguariensis (Yerba Matè)

Blog of the day: Tim Ferriss -http://fourhourworkweek.com/blog/

Musical Therapy:

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Top 20 Actions To Live A Happier, Healthier, Purposeful, Conscious and Adaptive Lifestyle

I am not a Doctor, but certificates don’t always bring experience. I aim to live a life that will heal all who seek a better life, even if they don’t realize it yet. I am a hypocrite as I do not practice each of these everyday, but if you know me well, my daily  conscious hours are spent researching health articles, documented studies, videos, and books ranging from inverted coffee enemas to homemade toothpaste and studying Traditional Chinese Medicine to understanding electro-therapy pain tolerance in endurance athletes. I try to embrace a life of reaction, seeing how I can train my sympathetic/ Para-sympathetic nervous system to adapt to any scenario, event, emotion and physical capacity. I started seriously* studying health in 2009 when I discovered a new, exciting and more “in-tune” lifestyle, which opened my eyes and mind to cultural and traditional based medicine. I adopted and forced myself to believe that every culture was right in their ways (Cultural Relativism), which helped me start to practice and experiment with techniques and to never turn down an unorthodox practice of health, vibrancy and tried-true long term health..Long Term as in hundreds to thousands of years..not your simple juice cleanse ( although they work very well) .

Self empowerment through your own research, which aims to give your life a jump start or upgrade, is the key to long-term health and happiness. You will understand that health is an industry where sickness is the key to making money. (BOLD TRUTH AHEAD) For example,  a 100% cure and plan to overcome any Cancer has been discovered and practiced to this day since the 1940’s. But you probably still think Cancer Research is  a heart-warming term, using every one of the MILLIONS of  donated Dollars respectfully and efficiently to fund Doctors vacations and pill prescription tallies.. yet it will never claim to find a practical, wide-spread cure indefinitely…You are either on your last option and looked towards alternative medicine in desperation OR you know someone who has gone down the same road OR you can go through all the intrusive, abusive techniques quickly and 100% cancer-free, but waste away painfully over the course of 5-10 years. That’s where the true statistics come from.  There are cures and they aren’t fads, made up of radioactive technology or life-degrading medication. Research point: Gerson Therapy. Enough said.

All in all, it takes one to question modern patterns of sympathetic, habitual forms of sickness to understand the roots of what works, what never will ( no matter what the dose is), and the most efficient way to spread to all( preventive or lifestyle). You should not be tired all day, drained after a meal, dreading another boring day, sighing, out of breath sitting, in involuntary pain, and questioning why everything  you hear from certified “health professionals (aka Doctors), is just making you stressed, depressed, helpless and cautious at every move.  To be in the health industry, you must practice what you preach. Which is amusing since, as I am writing this, the United States has some of the most stressed, orthorexic, and nutrition/ health obsessed awareness, yet we practice based off of billboard type information and listen to overweight and unhappy Doctors, guiding our lives through pill prescriptions and a lifestyle of addictive, slave-based mindsets as a cure. Those are masks to our problems, not long term solutions to all ailments.

By now, I have either turned you off in disgust, that’s okay, not all chickens know they are in cages. Or I have intrigued you to see if there is a chance in hell my amateur-style approach to doubt all that is mainstream is actually, somewhat….well, the truth. I am not saying I am right, but I have been obsessing and studying all forms of health related ideas put into this world for 8 years now and I’ve come across some common trends. I have put some of these into practice and some I have adopted and preach, while others I will recommend only to those who can handle it. If you think you can’t live a week without eating meat or dairy or checking Facebook, then you will probably live a life in your most wildest (cage-based) dreams. Let go of the hand that’s been guiding you towards lifelong sickness and start learning, researching and experimenting on your own to discover purity, vibrancy, blissfulness, and empowerment. I will never reach enlightenment (Nirvana), but I will take advantage of every conscious (and sub-conscious) moment to learn how to die happily. With these brief ideas below, you may start to test your limits, capacities and reach beyond what you thought was personally capable. I challenge you to research more on the topics, although they will most likely appear again in future posts. Don’t ever be numb to your flowing free-will!

These are in random order. Once again I am not preaching these, but they are common amongst some of the longest-living, happiest and most adaptable people on the planet. (Research Point: Blue Zones- https://www.bluezones.com/). Take each one with a grain of sea-salt and understand that they are idea seeds to be planted, experimented with and incorporated into your lifestyle however you see fit. I am not responsible for your health, but am willing to help everyone who asks with my full effort. If there is something you bring to me that I am unfamiliar with, I will dedicate my focus to understanding it. Go ask your average Doctor about the benefits of resistant starch, and they will go cross-eyed and hand you Tylenol with two cruise tickets to Aruba. Enjoy!

  1. Sweat and Shiver Once a Day: A sure way to reduce your chances of ever getting sick again is by helping your body adapt to the world around you. Whether you live in the Arctic, the humid jungles of the Amazon, or the dry Arizona desert, you will benefit from helping your body adapt to all physical capacities for maintenance and improving your genotype for the future. Our response to the environment can be altered with frequency and growth of resistant cells so an ideal environment would encompass a variety of hot, cold, humid, dry, damp and varying degrees of fatigue. From learning how to shiver properly, sweat efficiently, reduce heart rate, and expose your body to sustained bouts of challenging temperatures, you will understand how the body works and where energy is diverted when in a “survival” condition. To out into practice: cold showers, ice baths , saunas and steam rooms or just going for a simple run in cold* temperatures will do the trick.
  2. Breath Hold for Oxygenation: I will get more into this in future posts as I truly believe all will improve their lives with Static Apnea ( Without Air) for short and long term effects. From Oxygen saturation, to a clearer mindset and complete sensory awareness, holding one’s breath brings truth and prioritization into one’s daily schedule in a fast and blunt way. From a sedentary, bloated legged office worker to the elite cyclists and Ironman Triathletes of our time, holding one’s breath can improve metabolism, nutrient transportation, confidence, self-respect, temperature control and an overall reduction in heart rate beats per minute (bpm). Read my previous post for better insight.
  3. Fasting: Whether its Religious, cultural, health-based or out of simplicity, fasting can bring a euphoric awareness that re-prioritizes movement, energy, efficiency, and breaks societal necessities that usually just end up wasting time. Your body will be able to self-digest, re-program cells, divert necessary energy, vitamins, nutrients and slow things down. Your heart-rate will improve, your metabolism will be ignited and you will better adapt yourself to the off-chance you actually need to go 1-4 days without food. Getting through any 24 hour-96 hour fast is pure mindset. Try it, research it.
  4. Find a Lifestyle and Live In Abundance: Throw away the term “diet” and replace the headaches with pleasurable living through a “Lifestyle”.
  5. Yearning to Learn: Learn something new everyday and never lose passion for self-internal discovery. Whether you learn part of a new language, your physical tolerance in an ice-bath or how many miles you can run in a day, make it count and always progress.
  6. Voluntary-Suffering: Read my first two posts. In brief, if you gather all the suffering that you experience internally on a daily basis, you are harnessing the worldly suffering, therefore  internalizing and releasing Happiness to the world through Karmic vibes.. Sounds ridiculous in the world we live in today, but it is a fundamental thought in what I consider to be my practicing faith. (Research Point: Zen Buddhism)
  7. Understanding and Practicing Karma: Learning how to Die Properly (Research Point: Tibetan Book Of The Dead) (Research Point: Hinduism). Karma is a swaying ocean that doesn’t care who you are and where you originate from. If you sway in the Karmic Ocean, it will sway with, for and against you. All living creatures are sentient beings. We will die and take the life of another sentient being (pig, wasp, Brussels sprout root), only to live another lifetime from what we deserved from the first. We will live over and over in other beings and leave part of ourselves in all those beings. Therefore when you kill or take hold of a living being (pig, cow, carrot, chicken), you are in turn killing or transitioning yourself in a different form. We are all connected and make sure your appreciate all there is to life. The wind blowing, the sting of a bee, the cactus thorn, and even frostbite. You are alive. Don’t live life beneath the covers and create a world of positivity, happiness, opportunity and compassion.
  8. Reverse Ego-Centric Psychology: Viewing everyone around you as smarter, more experienced and with better ability keeps you constantly wanting to improve and focus on the simple tweaks that can make you into the “Upgraded you”. It also keeps your ears open to all who speak, with you to filter, and helps you never discount any information (wrong or right). Don’t ever let hair color, race, religion, rank, country of origin, and anything get in the way of Truth and ability. Experience is experience, but common knowledge is not common to all. Be an open book in 1st draft, with only what you say and believe as what is actually published. You will understand who speaks constant bullshit and who to listen to in the long run. (This technique can be dangerous if you have a bad self-image, always thinking everyone is better than you. That is not the intent. Be happy and listen to everyone. Do what feels right but don’t be afraid to experiment and adopt unique ways of living your life.)
  9. Traditional Medicine, Self Healing and Empowerment: Food is thy Medicine and we have come very far away from this ideal. From fertilized seeds of the future to living off of powders and pills, we actually have to remind ourselves to eat real, living, whole foods. Healing the body is very simple, as it was hundreds of years ago and although we have more technology, we have more ailments and disease. I could write for days on this topic but in simple, learn what worked for generations and practice healing yourself before others reel you in for life.
  10. Self-Experimentation: you will never know what works until you try. Whether it’s health-based, a skill set, physical, emotional or spiritual, get to know yourself in every aspect. Don’t let physical limitations be an option for someone else to place upon you. Explore what life is like when you break your personal barriers or what you thought was previously impossible. Time, distance, calories, pounds, elevation; let these words dictate your performance but don’t lose sight of casually experimenting and never lose sight of the fun in all of it. Numbers are numbers and they usually don’t have the parade your looking for. A better person all around is a general aim.
  11. Societal Interaction: I struggle with the instinctual need to go out and get my exposure to other things than the cold, heat and obsession with perfecting my health, endurance and my search for adventure. We all need to experience our form of societal exposure through friendship, family or even a simple wave at a grocery store. Some are too impacted by others, controlling their every move while others are too alone and don’t know they need others around to better their life. Either way, not everyone is feeling the way you do. Have empathy and realize others are going through daily struggles. Embrace others as you would yourself ….and maybe we are all the same person, just in another body.
  12. Family: Keep Family alive in your life with communication, any type, and appreciate every single breath of life that you share with people. Stay conscious while you are spending time with family and loved ones and never regret a moment or action. Be Present.
  13. Volunteering: Spread the Karmic Vibes any way you can.
  14. Clean house; clean mind: A plate goes through so much wear and tear and yet it can be cleaned and used again so quickly. Treat the plates, or carpet or chopsticks as your mind. Wipe it clean for a brief moment and reflect on the spices and ingredients it has covered in the past. Some things should be remembered, while others should fade away with the wind.
  15. Minimalistic, Frugal Lifestyle: I will explore this later, but only live and breathe with what you know you have. Write down on a piece of paper all that you own. If you forget anything, theoretically you would throw that out. Not practical, but it can drastically reduce the stresses in your life. Empty spaces do not need to be filled.
  16. Meditation (Samadhi): Meditation is the medication of the future. Read my first two posts, but I will touch on this in the future. Empty your mind, whether its 48 hours or 3 minutes, you will benefit. You don’t have to have the intention of reaching Nirvana or a euphoric state, just closing your eyes and focusing on intention, purpose and future effort while help you picture, or visualize, what needs to happen to get to the “end” result. Stay alive in the eyes to stay alive in the mind.
  17. Cultural and Religious Tolerance: Understanding another living being and their reasons for living and continuing on for the day is fundamental to understanding yourself as well. Bring every culture into your life and you will only gain positive Karma for how to address, communicate and dive deeper into another’s soul. If you often judge others, get to the root of the negativity by evaluating what your flaws are. They are often the same and you fall victim to judging vicariously to make yourself feel better. End this vicious cycle and learn what makes people unique in a bright light. Whatever God, or Goddess you believe in, try to TRULY believe in all Religions, because simply put. We do not know. I put my faith in Karma and practice Buddhism. Experiment and go to all churches, synagogues, temples and be fluent with key words. What you find offensive is no big deal for someone else…how is that true…because you aren’t the only one in the world. Tolerate.Smile.Breathe.
  18. Music As Therapy: Learn an instrument. Its like a new language but with hundreds of years of culture, potential and you get the added benefits of improving your dexterity, focus and patience. From the Sitar, to Violin to Harmonica, and Didgeridoo. I have a long-term goal of learning every instrument I possibly can but only in a beginner, basic way. I’d rather be able to play on every instrument, then only specialize in one. Don’t Judge. You don’t need to know how to read tablature, sheet music, or even have good posture and charm, just a creative spirit, some free time and soul.
  19. Nature: Spend time outside and understand why you are a human. Whether you are underwater or standing atop a mountain, you will soon realize you are small and fragile at any moment. Understand that Nature is a higher power than you are and you will start to view all living entities as you view yourself. Respect the living world.
  20. Realistic to “Dream-Big” Goal-Setting: Setting any sort of goal is a practical but dangerous concept to those who cannot deal with those limitations. Make it realistic, but have more faith in yourself to complete something you never thought was possible. Whether you want to climb Everest, Run across the country, become a Doctor, build a house, or lose 200 lbs., if you apply yourself in an extraordinary way, you will get it done! Sacrifices, time-management and a frugal lifestyle will sometimes be the reality of beginning this journey, but it can be done. The bigger you dream, the more you will learn since “failure” will approach with consistency and in smaller doses. In time..in time.

A few more “Runner Ups” to help you out. Some are very specific and blunt but they are monumental with overall health and wellness. These are biased as I whole-heartedly practice these everyday, but either way, research and experiment.

21. No More Microwaves: The days of at home radiation therapy are over folks. Microwaves should never be a part of your at-home cooking process. Microwaving foods will seriously alter, as with cooking, your food in negative, carcinogenic ways that devoid your food of nutrients. If you wouldn’t stick your head in a microwave, neither should the calories, nutrients and fuel source to live your life that you consume daily. Microwaving milk ( animal secretions…nasty stuff in the first place and the #1 cause of inflammation and Osteoporosis…I digress) will cause toxic molecules to form.

22. Vegan/ Vegetarianism: This is a game-changer and I will fully discuss all in future posts. This has been the biggest impact in my life to date regarding health and I will never look back at my selfish, cruel past. Whether your introduction into a cruelty-free future is based in Health, Performance, Sustainability, Ethical choice or Religious (or all), an animal free diet will benefit all. The worlds strongest man is a passionate Vegan

(http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/ffl/employee/strongest-man-in-the-world-full-on-vegan)

as well as the worlds top triathletes, runners, cyclists and anything that one would define as “Macho” ( http://www.richroll.com/).  Break the stigma and show others that you are living the happiest life by not consuming decaying animal carcasses and their by products. If not for the world, yourself or those around you, do it for the animals. Don’t call yourself an animal lover but still get most of your calories from animals. Oh, inverted world.

23. Gluten-Free Diet For All: Modern Human stomachs are gluten-intolerant, some react severely, some don’t react as harshly but the effects build over time. Cutting out Gluten is a smart choice for all who care about sleep, digestion, skin, hair, athletic potential and metabolism.

24. Cut Out The Sodium: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommends 2,300 mg daily, while the Institute for Medicine recommends 1,500 mg daily. I recommend 0 mg. I will dive further into this controversial topic in future posts as this has been the number one cause and effect while people are dieting, cutting, ridding their body of toxins, shedding weight and getting rid of bloating for good. If you consumed a pure, whole food, Vegan Diet, you would most likely take in less than 100mg daily. Why need anymore. Even if you exercise 3-5 hours a day and use Natural (I hate that word..it used to mean something) whole, organic, plant-based calories to support your daily endeavors, you will still not require anything more. If you do consume or find the need to up your intake, look toward high quality sea salts, Himalayan Salts, Pink Salts and those found in algae, kelp, kombu, nori and anything from the source of the ocean.

25. Intermittent Fasting, One Meal A Day, Monk Diet : This is another controversial topic in a health-obsessed state that society is currently in, but in general, you consume all of your calories in a small window to affect the way the body breaks down nutrients and adapts to the lack of calories and nutrients during the day. Over time your body will be able to extract nutrients in a more efficient manner, speed up digestion, replace glycogen faster, help you become more “Fat-Adapted”, and learn to keep the overall ingredients of your meals more simple. From a Religious aspect, that I truly look toward, it is the understanding of earning your meal each day and to only eat once all has been accomplished for the day. You appreciate every bite and cherish the texture, full flavor and nutrient packed goodness that each food and ingredient you so choose to enjoy. The idea is that with the simplicity and understanding of earning your meal, you will take advantage of time (by slowing your ravenous nature), of stomach room (by only filling it with Positive Karma, nutrient potent foods), and with appreciation ( knowing and accepting that if you do not live a purposeful day, you will not eat). This is where voluntary fasting comes in.

26. Ikigai: “Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”. Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.”-To me, in a casual sense, encompasses running, cycling, holding my breath, deep meditation, and spending quality time in a sauna.

Research and experiment, everyday, and as always, may you Run, Pedal, Smile & Breathe!

Self-Experiment. Smile.Breathe. (Follow me Daily @Runsmilebreathe)

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Herb Of The Day: Maitake Mushroom

Blog Of The Day: Joe Grant (Alpine Works)  http://alpine-works.com/

Musical Therapy:

(Re) Learning To Breathe: Part One

I ascend from the ocean floor,

Through shafts of wondrous sunlight.

My mind dabbles in a state of pleasure,

And in marvelous rebellion.

Defying mind, breath and pressure,

I’m enveloped,

In a liquid element,

Travelling to the edge of myself,

To a place of well being.

To feel, to know, to be alive,

For once, I’m certain,

I’m where I should be.

The ocean beckons, and taunts

Dares me, to stay a little longer

I’m a visitor,

Stuck in suspension

Between this world and mine.

I go on through,

And finally surface,

The world seems brand new,

As I cling onto

Flimsy shreds of normalcy

-Renee Blundson-SeaUnseen

Never have I been more self-assured, fearful, blissful, euphoric and in a raw state then when I am 70 feet below the ocean surface, gazing up at the sunlight radiating through the underwater currents and turmoil of the surface waves. All essentials of a pure life come before you. Simply just an empty mind, the internal battle of full consciousness and a sense of urgency..and yet I am constantly reminded of the pull towards the surface or looming unconsciousness through chest convulsions and dry throat gulps which render me into a quivering, questioning state. I want to go back up to “reality”, but I am engulfed with a sense of purpose, of change, a purity that exists no where else. If I stay down, I’ll black out, and approximately three minutes later my body will turn into an oxygen guzzling vacuum and succumb to the H20 environment around me with a mouth wide-open. The most intensely peaceful death there is.

Of all the qualities we try and understand, “Breathing” in my opinion, is  the simplest yet hardest action (& concept) to attain and perform. The fastest way to realize this is just hold your breath. DO IT. Right now in your seat, bed, or while holding your phone. Whether you can go 10 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 11 minutes, there is no faster  way to realize our necessity to breathe as living creatures, then to go without it for a brief moment. It will re-prioritize your responsibility to the world and environment around you, dampen the internal and external demons and shine a light on what truly matters in life*.

A Burnt Introduction.

I was fortunate to grow up relatively close to the “Shore” in NJ,  spending every summer that I can remember, down at Long Beach Island. My introduction into the ocean world, no matter how rough or grey the waves were,  are all because of my Mom and Dad who not only spent their summers growing up on the shore, but after they started going steady and into their early years of marriage, made it a fundamental part of their life. Memories of spending time with family and exploring the miles of hot sandy beaches were ingrained in my DNA and I will forever be sweating the gallons of crushed jellyfish, salt filled water that engulfs the NJ Coastline. Barnegat Lighthouse, Surf City, Ship Bottom, Beach Haven, and the bay areas that hold the most rickety vessels for crab and lobster catching and the infamous 1 foot wide docks that spanned 30-50 yards into the bay. This is where friendships, a love of nature and splinters are born. We ended up renting out the same house for years on end for two weeks at a time, spent quality time boogie-boarding, diving for crab and lobster and seeing my Mothers side of the family, mainly up and down the shoreline.

I clearly remember the process of waking up, eating a feast of oats, orange juice, oatmeal cookies, and gathering all my beach gear in my Mom’s carrying tote. Our luggage for a casual all day excursion at the beach, a whopping 1/2 mile away, would consist of beach tags, towels, goggles, unused sunscreen, more oatmeal cookies, cash and change for lunch popsicles, and at least two baseball gloves, a wiffle ball bat, some balls and a football. I developed some epic friendships and even my first crush down the shore and yet I have some trouble recalling the names! Kieran, Chris..that’s about it. My cousins TC and Ryan were a strong influence for getting to know the off island lifestyle and I still remember going down every Thanksgiving to spend time watching football, pounding the cheesecake and truly enjoying my home away from home. All those years of trying to walk barefoot on the asphalt and then treat myself to scolding hot sand before bolting towards the water line. Rashes, Jellyfish stings, wicked sunburn, and mosquito bites were the battle scars of such epic adventures. From building sand castles large enough to house 3 cots, having throwing contests on the sandbars a 1/2 mile away from shore, and wiping out on my boogie-board and being carried a mile from where I started were some of my favorite daily memories. The salt-water taffy, ice cream and shaved ice stands, ham and egg sandwiches, pizza and walking anywhere in my barefeet (which I still try to embody today..society) all taught me a lesson in beach culture that I believe shaped who I would grow into today. All in all, the salt water was ingrained in my blood. After spending so much time riding the waves, being pummeled by the breaks, slipping on my ass collecting starfish on the ” Jetty” and seeing the choppy waters smash into every boogie and skim boarder who attempted a line, I started to develop a curiosity for more than just the surface.

Unedited Go-Pro:

A World Below The Surface:

As I dove deeper (get it..) into the Oceanic world and the opportunities to explore it, I grew a strong interest in obtaining my Basic and Advanced Open Water Certification through PADI (http://www.padi.com/). My mind was blown and although it was a bit of a drive for nighttime classes after school, it was worth every second of studying, perfecting buoyancy and learning how to control my breath to ultimately extend my tank life. I was hooked. My twice a month Mecca became Dutch Springs Quarry in Bethel, Pennsylvania where divers flocked to explore sunken helicopters, firetrucks, train cars, armored tanks, and 100 foot tall steel cages, all to enhance and create an underwater playground for the diver alike. I met so many wonderful people, and although I was one of the youngest by 10-15 years, it helped me understand life and death situations, paying attention to detail and how to keep a calm mind. Diving opened a world for me where I could shut out the noise of the surface and focus on just breathing and the clicks and clangs of metal against metal. I always had the most air left after a dive and started to realize that my pulse and habit of unconscious breathing would turn into a Zen like trance where thoughts, emotions, fears and reality, only existed within each breathe..coming and going..and  moving on without a care. I started holding my breath for longer intervals and imagined myself with no tank and what I would do. In short, this is what led to many sessions of filling up my bathtub, grabbing my stopwatch and lowering my head and body below ther surface.

(CAUTION: In hindsight, this is a sure way to kill yourself and I have had one too many instances from 2006-2016 of nearly blacking out without anyone around. Always dive and train with a partner, and although I am a complete hypocrite for not following the number one rule of freediving, I have managed to stay alive and black out 4 times total, all under the eyes of another diver or freediving instructor. Shallow-Water Blackouts for deep diving and diving unattended for Dynamic and Static Apnea  alone kill more freedivers every year, from first timers to 20+ year professionals. Always dive with a buddy, and make sure they can at least swim :))

As I advanced into different certifications and skill levels, I was fortunate to travel and dive in some pretty note-worthy places known for diving and undersea attractions. Cozumel, Aruba, Kaui, Maui, Arizona, Alaska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, La Jolla Cove, Oceanside, which all presented opportunities, lessons and exploratory value in a unique way. I managed to squeeze in 65 dives by the time I was 17, but the process didn’t always get easier. I was looking for redundancy in action, but something unique and new in the external sense.

image

Herb of the Day: Cordyceps

Inspiration: Adventure/ Tour Divide Cyclist, Trans -Am Record Holder, Yogi, Alaska Grown: Lael Wilcox – http://laelwilcox.com

Band: The Dodos

Birth Of A Happy Sufferer

 

imageDont get me wrong… Happily Suffering is a relative and personal method (mindset) that I use to help me condense the big picture of things, originally used when a daunting, tough or questionable goal was ahead of me. I choose to personally surround myself with daily and constant exposure to hot and cold temperatures, a low and high heart rate, limited oxygen, a simplistic yet obsessively empty but conscious mindset and long miles when time affords ( or when sleep can be adjusted). The variety of my environment brings on new experiences and thus… More adaptability to this life.. And one day a basic understanding of who I am.

imageFrom a personal standpoint, to suffer is to expose myself to every possible situation, voluntary or not, to truly learn, document and possiblly change who I am for the progressive aspect of our human existence. Learning how to hold one’s breath for over 6 minutes or slowing the heart rate down on a mountain pass or in a sauna, warming my core at -30°F or looking at a situation from someone else’s perspective, are what I live for… That’s pretty much it! I am constantly researching for a simplistic, traditional, and sustainable form of total health, while at the same time looking for every way to put myself through the most torturous or demanding of races, runs, routes, attempts and adventures to almost prove to myself that I can recover just as easy… And by myself… And do it again sooner than later.

Spiritually

From a spiritual, religious, inner instinct point of view, to suffer is one of the most basic elements of Zen Buddhism and a sure way to cleanse the soul (in theory). When one realizes the need to change or adapt, or just to gather new hope, or appreciation, to “suffer” will prioritize basic needs, wants, and desires beyond all. The essence and quality of “emptiness”, which is an ever present focus for Zen Buddhism, is both simple and impossible. To clear the mind of all thought, concept, life, breath, worry, desire, guilt, contemplation and love is achievable but one will never truly get there. To reach Nirvana, one must spend their entire life form first knowing that they will never attain enlightenment. Flowing this realization, one will dedicate every waking and conscious moment to try and attempt to reach this sacred state. Emptying our mind even for a simple second will work wonders on one’s physical, mental, spiritual and soulful health as well as generally put things “back into perspective”. We could all use this.  Simply by depriving our souls of societal norms (1st world problems) like social interaction, food, water, shelter, adjustable temperatures, instant answers and (personally) oxygen, we are deconstructed to our foundation: Ego. Our bodies resort to simple entities that can be transformed to nothing in a flash. Our ego does not mean our legacy nor does it mean a tangible force surrounding is, it is empty calories for the soul. It detracts our soul, puts out a hyped up version of our heart on a sleeve and generally leads to biting off more than you can chew.

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Naked and Barefoot

Don’t go running naked and barefoot through the woods of Priest Draw on a 5- day water fast just yet… This comes with time, thought and gradual progression. If you choose to take steps towards a more frugal, simple, conscious, healthy, basic, nomadic, happier, adaptable life… Just expose yourself daily to minor uncomfortable situations. Jump into a sauna for 30+ minutes or take an ice bath at every chance, or do both back and forth! See how long you can hold your breath, how long you can run without stopping, how many days you can go without any calories or water or sleep! I started doing these things because I didn’t know myself and wanted to, but didn’t know how to start. If you are concerned about trivial problems or anxious or not happy with your current path, reset yourself by allowing the body to actually self-digest by experimenting with your personal limits. You may discover a new passion. The passion of learning to let go of your ego, just have what you need to survive, and be ever present throughout all situations….ultimately conscious of your every move. You’ll start to become an observer of the masses, drones and those that are slaves to the billboards and silver linings all around.(Medical, Food, Political) You may think you need calories, but you just need sleep. You may think you need sleep but you just need vitamins, minerals, adaptogenic & sustaining herbs. You might  think you need vitamins but you just need motivation. Just dig deep, drink some tea, coffee, think about the big picture and continue on. (Take this with a grain of coconut sugar).

I found that when I went into an adventure, race or casual run, things ended up for the better when I expected to suffer mentally, breakdown physically, expose myself soulfully and progress myself towards enlightenment from a spiritual point of view.

In closing, If you elect to suffer, do not do so to prove anything to anyone, even yourself, as the concept of losing your ego is the True goal of suffering. Exposure to every possible situation is impossible but daily reminders, adaptations and mental outlooks will help for when you don’t have a choice….that’s what has helped me in the past and I’m banking on it for the future, throughout many lifetimes ahead.

Two-Person Support Crew

My parents have created an opportunistic, supportive and accepting path on my Journey in life to allow me to test myself and  grow as an individual and I thank them dearly for that. Without them, I am nothing. Simply put. I did not suffer growing up, and I am grateful, for there are millions that ONLY know suffering and don’t know the antonym. So when I use the term suffering, it is  once again a personal term to help me cope with the madness that lies ahead. I will find my limits one day, whether it be through a multi-year thesis of self-experimentation or on an epic adventure, but I will not stop searching until I do.

May you Run, Smile & Breathe.

Herb: Schisandra Berry 

Band/ Artist: Dan Deacon: When I was Done Dying-

Blog: Adventurer, Endurance junkie, Fatbike Queen, Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 finisher, Tour Divide Guru, Runner: Jill Homer- Jilloutside.com

Let’s Be Honest…

A resounding and seemingly obsessive factor in my life is my ability to be comfortable by myself. I truly started practicing my internal reflection and self dependency  in 2009 when I started running in the high mountains of Flagstaff, AZ. That sweet air.. or lack of it. It taught me to be conservative…stay light (physically, mentally, materially ), and how to fuel myself properly, efficiently and consciously. Either way, it transformed and encouraged me to become someone I didn’t expect in the big picture: An Endurance Junkie.

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind

My newfound vibrancy of actually living for endurance changed me to the point where I was going to Yoga classes 2-3 times a day, learning how to bonk effectively, and build my internal and external endurance up. I started cycling obsessively, mainly on Lake Mary Road in Flagstaff, running Mount Humphreys, and occasionally enjoyed the desert heat near Phoenix where my Parents relocated after our move from New Jersey. 2009-2010 were powerful years for my transformation and self-discovery process as I switched to a Vegan (Plant-Based) diet, practiced the principles of Buddhism, trained in the multiple disciplines of triathlons, learned self-Acupuncture and herbal medicine, Freediving Basics and the mere thought of running beyond 30, 50 and 100 miles.

I feel I took a different course than what I had or originally thought I wanted or what I was striving for. Really it was just acceptance and I was looking outward, when the solution was within. Sounds cliché, but don’t discount it. At that time I was attending Northern Arizona University  and looking back, I’m pretty sure I was intoxicated with pure mountain air (6,000-12,600 ft.) and began to surround myself with the Ultra-running, adventure-based,  cycling, activist, coffee-culture base camp that was Flagstaff. I truly didn’t enjoy mass social gatherings, I learned what the word “Local” meant and started to transcribe the inner workings of my mind, almost a Cartographer of the Soul. I started taking meditation seriously, whether it be during a water fast, overlooking the peaks, or hours staring at a wall while on my bike trainer. I met some wonderful people with a strong influence on this new lifestyle. I started semi-serious endurance training, more adventurous routes, and appeased my curiousity  for how far I could go with less of a dependency on clothing, GPS, processed gels, and even running partners. The Simplest Pursuit..Escapism in my early twenties.

Run,Smile & Breathe Mentality

Teetering on the mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and soulful capacities during any race,  brings on profound realizations when in a reflective state.  These realizations taught me that beyond lack of water, food, pain, sleep and societal normality’s and rules, the simple act of breathing means you are progressing. Once you have established the use and control of breath, you can factor in the power and warmth of positive thought through smiling. Now that you are smiling, get up and start moving, whether you are on a couch, a mountain pass or hesitating to resurface when your 80 ft. Underwater on a single breath.

Back To The Roots

Over the years I’ve had many failed attempts at maintaining any consecutive blog but I figure with my upcoming transition there is no better time to reflect on the past, to help me live in the present and strive for the unknown adventures and opportunities of the future. When chasing down big numbers, elevation, or high volume training on a weekly and monthly basis, lack of  motivation can Jump into the big picture and outmatch pure passion of any sport. This is why writing down mileage, time and elevation in a notepad (never to be seen outside my own eyes) will only give me so much inspiration…which is why I feel the need to turn to social media, GPS tracking sites that analyze efforts and letting the world see my ramblings…where thought, time and distance intertwine. I’ve spent many years, usually prior to a run, ride, or race, stooping over videos of  Anton Krupicka, Kilian Jornet, Lael Wilcox, Rich Roll, Jason Lester, Scott Jurek, Dean Karnazes , David Goggins or any sort of adventurist/ endurance athlete testing their limits everyday to help spark that inner fire, and I hope I can give that extra nudge to anyone who continues to follow my posts.

Continuing On

I don’t expect anyone to read these posts, but my intention is to fully, clearly, whole-heartedly and accurately write down the true aspects of my life. The daily pursuits, mini-adventures, self-experimentation, and progression of my lifetime will be documented on a weekly and monthly basis so I can one day try and understand myself and where my growth is leading me. I hope to also inspire others, to see a life unfold with too much on my plate, which I will admit and hope it never changes. I don’t intend on my posts to be long, but I do tend to be long-winded in simplest terms. I will keep writing… Your choice on the reading.

I’ll primarily use this blog as a record for my running, cycling, freediving, health pursuits/ discoveries, self-experimentation, and all adventures that keep me smiling (or bonked) and the things that inspire me to get up and do it all over again. If you end up actually reading these posts, I truly hope you simply take away how easy it is to get up and get moving, and search for your passion (s) in life. No matter what distance, route, race, time, goal, transformation or adventure you are interested in, just go for it.

Following every post, I’ll try and keep the tradition of naming one Artist/ Band, one profound herb and one Adventurer, Runner, Cyclist or Doctor/ Health Guru that has influenced me and recommend to all.

Herb: Ashwagandha

Band: Luluc

 

Ultra-runner, Adventurer, Van-life enthusiast, Friend: http://wildandfreeshaun.blogspot.com/?m=1

Stay tuned for my next post: “Birth Of A Happy Sufferer” and as always,  May you Run, Smile & Breathe!