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My Dynamic Agreements…..

Having the understanding that as we grow and change and our perception of the world around us changes so does the rules that we choose to live by change. So what is good for me today may not be as true tomorrow. Also as I grow and my knowledge base widens so may the way that I choose to govern my life and see the world. I do not profess to be all knowing and thus the dynamic nature of this work. While this may or may not become its own creation that will continue to grow in time I have created four primary rules inspired from Don Miguel Ruiz Four Agreements. What initially started in fun and simple creation I’m afraid may take a mind of its own. This by no means is meant to replace a book that I hold dear to my heart. But rather to simply add through my lense and perspective. This is not a book report or review of his work. I could only wish to become even a small portion of the writer that he is.

Tell the truth

Tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not their truth, his truth, or her truth or what you believe they want you to say but your truth. I am obligated to know the difference between a fact, belief, opinions, and respecting others truths, as they may not be our own. Lying by omission and hiding is not being in truth.

Being in truth is a step towards autonomy, sovereignty, and ultimate freedom.

Stop being a V word!

Stop feeling sorry for myself. Don’t be a victim. Stop feeling sorry for myself! Just stop! Do everything I can when this happens to see it differently. Stop making excuses and get off my lazy ass and do something about it. Nobody fucking cares. They have their own shit to worry about and their own life to live. It is my responsibility and mine alone to take care of the situation. Stop blaming others and take responsibility when necessary. If I don’t have the power to effect change, accept it. Nobody likes a crying little baby and it doesn’t benefit me or others anyway. Stop being a little bitch!

To be so Presumtuous

Stop worrying what others think of me. My truth is not someone else’s truth. Their truth is not my truth. Everyones reality and story is different. I begin to believe what my assumptions are of others and myself to be truth this can lead to judgement. Realize that the world can be seen from a multitude of different angles not just that of our my own. If I want to know just ask. I can’t read minds. If everyone told the truth the need for this would decrease dramatically!

WIN THE DAY & CREATE

I am capable of much more than I realize. I do the best I can with what I have. DON’T QUIT, SET GOALS, START AND END EACH DAY WITH INTENTION. The point is to grow and improve, Become a little better today than I was yesterday in any and all aspects of my life. With grit, determination, and resilience anything is possible. Fears and self doubt will begin to melt away. Try this for 1, 3, 6 months and then compare. It can be difficult to see on a micro level but from a macro level these changes are huge.

LIVE AND LET LIVE (How a suicide attempt saved my life)

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LIVE AND LET LIVE

One of the biggest fears that many of us have is the fear of death.Perhaps this is because of the uncertainty that comes with what happens after we die.Maybe its because we are afraid that when we die we will eventually be forgotten.Perhaps this is why people by the millions turn to religion to find some sort of comfort in the stories and promise of eternal salvation after death.One thing is for certain we are all going to die.Many have had near death experiences with miraculous stories of what happened to them when they were on the other side.Whether or not these stories are true or not are irrelevant.They believe them to be true and I’m sure it brings them some comfort.

I have been fortunate enough in my life to escape death’s grasp on me on multiple occasions.Six to be exact and those are just…

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75 HARD

75HARD

Several months ago a man named Andy Frisella came up with the concept of 75hard. I had been an avid listener of his podcast for sometime and had been tossing around the idea of doing the challenge. While a large portion of this challenge is physical it is really designed to be a mental challenge. I did know that if I was going to do it I would be all in. I followed many people attempting this. I got a good idea what this would take for me to accomplish and I began to get mentally ready. This took a bit. It consists of five relatively simple tasks that are to be done daily for 75 days if you fail at even one you start over. I had heard that most people wont even attempt let alone finish the challenge. Over a year ago at least, I wrote on my mirror at home and I read at least once a day. I can do anything I put my mind to I create it. I am good guy and a badass mother f*cker. I will do the work to achieve this. The story I believe the most about myself determines who I am, who I am determines what I am capable of. I tell you this because I already had a strong believe in what I could do. Could doing 75 hard add to this? These are the rules:

1.  Follow a diet.  This was really any diet of your choosing.  Zero alcohol.

2.  Work out 2 times a day for 45 minutes.  One of these workouts must be outside.

3.  Drink a gallon of water a day.

4. Read 10 pages of a self help book.

5.  Take a progress pic a day

Motivation can be a weird thing. Mostly in how we get it and choose to use it to our advantage.  Many of us have lots of different ways to get motivated.  Some use accountability, support, fear, and results or progress to name a few. Mine came by the way of someone telling me I couldn’t!   A local writer, public speaker, entrepreneur, and life coach who had just completed the 75 hard challenge, basically said most of you won’t even try let alone complete this challenge!  While this gentleman has probably positively helped thousands, the way he said this I perceived as him thinking he was better than me and most other people attempting the 75hard.  He went off about how we wouldn’t finish this challenge and that he was special.  I took this personally.  Who the f$ck is he?  He was no better than me.  I am extremely grateful that he unknowingly was my initial motivation.  So I set a date and it was on!

1.  I chose to be in a deficit calorically daily, eat clean, no sweets (like ice cream I love ice cream), consume as close as possible 200 grams of protein a day.  I sit in an office a lot of the day.  With this challenge I burned 3000-4000 calories a day.  I decided to stay below 3000 calories a day to be safe.  I hate counting calories.  So I found a few meals and counted those calories and that’s what I ate for 2 ½ months.   I had long since left my relationship with alcohol so this wasn’t a big deal.

2.  I walked nearly every morning at 5:30.  I invested in a 30 lb. vest and added that to my routine.  Lifted 5 days a week.  Played basketball, Wallyball, Softball, and walked some more.  This forced me to get creative.  I ran out of things to do after working out 14 times a week.  

3.  This was hands down the most difficult part for me.  I like water just fine.  But a gallon?  I started carrying around a gallon jug daily.  I hated this.  I eventually found a forty oz. container that I liked and used it.  There are 128 oz. of water in a gallon.  So the math doesn’t quite get to 128.  So I would usually slam some at night if needed.  On a good night I would only have to get up once or twice to take a leak.  

4. I loved this part. I had really never been a big reader until a few years ago.  This was just awesome!

5.  It is nice to see the progress and not remembering to do it could ruin your entire challenge.  Remember to do the little things.  They count too.  So I sometimes took two or even three if I wasn’t sure.

My results were two fold in the form of measurable and immeasurable outcomes:

Measurable

My Weight was 211.6 when I started.  I ended at 200.7.  So  

I said goodbye to 10.9 lbs.

My body fat 2 weeks into the challenge was 11.6 (I really wish I would have thought of this at the start to have a better baseline).  I ended at 8.6.  That’s 25 % of my total body fat just to put this in perspective.

I read all or part of these books:  As a Man Thinketh, The Richest Man In Babylon, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Refuge Recovery, and The Book of Joy.

There are others but they aren’t really that important.

Immeasurable

This to me is why I did 75hard and what it is all about.  

Intention-I had to be intentional every day to successfully complete this.  I had to plan my day out to the letter.  This didn’t mean that if something came up I couldn’t be flexible and work around it. But for the most part to get my workouts in, eat correctly, read, and get that damn water down, and take a selfie I had to plan it.  Hell I carried a water jug around with me all day long.  This was a constant reminder to me of doing the little things to accomplish a goal are important and that I had a goal to accomplish.

Sacrifice– Like many of you I have a very busy life. Five busy teenagers all active in athletics, married, and a full time demanding job.  Sometimes the last thing that I wanted to do was read or workout.  I wanted to sleep, go out, sit on the couch and watch a movie, go to kids games.  While I did my best to do what I could.  Sometimes I had to choose and make a sacrifice.   I got the pleasure of doing lots of walking outdoors. Many times if I wanted to accomplish my goal needed to do it in the rain, cold, when I was sore and tired. Things that are worth doing will take sacrifice.  

Untapped Potential: I saved this part for last. So those of you that have continued reading get the best part. With a couple weeks left in 75hard I had been playing in a pick up basketball game with a couple of my boys. (Something I wouldn’t be doing if I weren’t doing the challenge). I decided I would attempt to grab the rim. I’m closer to 44 than 43 have had a full ACL replacement a couple years ago. I haven’t played a lot of basketball since High School and haven’t dunked since I was probably 21. I ended up jumping high enough to dunk the basketball and grabbed the rim two handed with ease. I did attempt to dunk it later but I can’t palm the basketball and needed a lob to throw it down. I just got bad passes. I will dunk it soon. I told a friend about this great accomplishment. Which I think is pretty cool! He laughed and asked if this was how I measured success? The answer is no. This is simply a side effect of 75 hard. To me success is simply setting out to actively accomplish a goal that has some meaning. The side effects of trying to accomplish these goals through intention, hard work, sacrifice, and discipline are the things like nearly dunking a basketball, looking fantastic naked, good health, money, fame, etc. Nearly dunking a basketball wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even think it was possible. So what else isn’t on my radar? What else am I capable of? Am I being held back on some of these things because of my limiting beliefs ,illusionary fears, and stories I tell myself about myself? Think about this for a second. ………………..Dunking the basketball was just the tip of the ice burg and doesn’t mean shit! What about all the other areas of my life whether in relationships, work, mentally, or spiritually is this untapped and unrealized potential?

There are multiple phases of 75hard.  Each one gets more demanding.  Even with my newfound knowledge I find that I have been hesitant on doing the next phase. I find myself saying things like it is getting to cold outside to workout.  The snow will be horrible.  I don’t know if a can take a 5-minute cold shower.  Bottom line is I’m saying it’s too hard.  That is just my mind wanting to be comfy.  I encourage all to take a step out of their comfort zone and truly see what they can be capable of and am truly grateful for the gifts that 75hard has shown me.  

LIVE AND LET LIVE (How a suicide attempt saved my life)

LIVE AND LET LIVE

One of the biggest fears that many of us have is the fear of death.  Perhaps this is because of the uncertainty that comes with what happens after we die.  Maybe its because we are afraid that when we die we will eventually be forgotten. Perhaps this is why people by the millions turn to religion to find some sort of comfort in the stories and promise of eternal salvation after death.  One thing is for certain we are all going to die.  Many have had near death experiences with miraculous stories of what happened to them when they were on the other side.   Whether or not these stories are true or not are irrelevant. They believe them to be true and I’m sure it brings them some comfort.  

I have been fortunate enough in my life to escape death’s grasp on me on multiple occasions.  Six to be exact and those are just the ones that I’m aware of.  A couple of those were as a fireman that might have resulted in death or serious injury. I’ll just call these near misses.  Another was a four-wheel accident that I’m not sure why, but I only cracked a rib.  I did however have two other incidents where I feel that for reasons other than what I will explain I should be dead.  While they are both separate incidents, they both have very similar resolve.  One was a river trip down the mighty Colorado and Cataract Canyon:  after our boat flipped in the canyon at over 60,000 CFS, I was holding onto our overturned 18’ boat and saw my wife in the distance gasping for air in the rapids. I decided I could save her and let go to reach her.  It wasn’t long before I was soon in a huge mess.  I couldn’t breath and the rapids never seemed to stop.  At one point they did stop and just about the time I was ready to swim again the rapids started back up.  I was exhausted and I remember vividly in my mind thinking I’m done and I put my head in the water and quit fighting.  

The other experience, that is harder to talk about, was a failed attempted suicide attempt at my lowest point.  As a fireman/paramedic for years I had arrived on scene to too many attempted suicides as well as successful ones.  I had conjured up in my own mind a plan for what would be a flawless way to go.  
While at the time, I never in a million years thought or imagined I might actually act upon these thoughts.  The plan consisted of sleeping pills, a bottle of good scotch and carbon monoxide.  I would be able to enjoy my favorite cocktails and just fall asleep never to wake up again. Fast forward several years and I was caught up in addiction, knowing I needed to stop and feeling I was helpless and that I couldn’t stop.  Loss of a career and the idea that my family had abandoned me became a thought in my mind and an answer that I was done.  This wasn’t a cry for help.  I wanted to die.  So I put my plan in motion and eventually passed out in my garage with engines running with my last conscious thought of this being the end.  

What happened next in both circumstances I don’t have an explanation for other than my ideas and beliefs to what transpired.  The similarities to me are uncanny and while some would say this was God or some other entity conjured up in the world of religion, I have a different explanation. While in the river with my head in the water I never remember struggling or gasping for air.  Instead I had a sense of calmness, peace, and serenity that I had never felt before. Words can’t describe the feeling.   While I don’t think that I was near death, it was the thing closest to that. I have zero idea how long I sat with my head in the water for.  It could have been seconds or minutes.  Everything in that moment seemed perfect and I didn’t want to leave.  I was at peace.  There was a part of me that decided that it wasn’t my time and that I needed to fight a little more, maybe pure instinct.   Both circumstances I was extremely vulnerable and at a point of exhaustion and had given up on living.   In my mind I had also decided that I was finished and ready to die.  Some other part of me had decided otherwise.  

My suicide attempt, while a completely different situation entirely, had the same vulnerability, giving up on living in my mind, and I stopped thinking just long enough to let my higher self in.  I woke up in a carbon monoxide filled room.  Why and how I woke up is unclear.  The identical feeling of serenity, calmness, and peace was present.  All of this at the lowest point in my life.  

It is my belief that we are a sum of all of our experiences.  We are our job, our family, friends, and the things that we acquire over time.  While all of these things are great to have and bring us temporary fulfillment, our true nature is hidden and doesn’t often reveal itself.  So, by all means get the jacked-up truck, travel to the far corners of the world, buy that nice dress, and experience the wonders that life can bring.  We are what we believe we are!   Identity is a weird thing.  It changes all the time.  Right now I am a writer, in about 30 minutes my kids will wake up and I’m going to be a kick ass Dad, then for about 9 hours I’ll buy into the illusion of corporate America and chase the dollar.  In a lot of ways identity can define us if we let it, especially when we are blind to it.  Our true nature is that of love, gratitude, and compassion and how we connect to those through our life experience.  The closest tool I have to be able to reach this point is through meditation (topic for another day).  Earl Nightingale once said,  “Most people tiptoe through life hoping to make it to death.”  Nothing except death is permanent.  Life is full of impermanence and one should make every effort to make a life meaningful the best way we can.  We can learn to become what our true nature is.  While in the meantime taking full advantage of the gifts that life has to offer.

BYU fans bleed UTE red

The best time of the year is upon us!  The weather has turned to tolerable; not too hot not too cold.  Leaves are changing.  Kids are back in school.  Hunting season has arrived.   Finally the Ute college football season is here and the college football season in full swing; giving us an excuse to tailgate, spend quality time with friends and family, go to games, escape from the daily grind of life, and last but not least trash talk our most hated teams.

In a recent conversation with my father, who will undoubtedly after reading this regret being the initial inspiration for this, we were discussing the Ute football season and how the expectations were so high and that there were also many BYU fans wanting the Utes to do well this season.  This of course made no sense to me as I personally love to see the team down south do poorly as possible all the time and would never root for them to do well.   Why in the world would a BYU fan think this way?  It can’t be out of the goodness of their heart.  I had an epiphany:  deep in their soul BYU fans are truly UTE fans.  They just don’t know any better.   Why else would they settle for a life of liking a mediocre team at best and suffer through all of this agony knowing that all this agony will not have an upside in the end.

Spending many great years as both a student and football player at the University of Utah many would never believe that I grew up a child a BYU fan.  I distinctly remember rooting for Ty Detmer and Robbie Bosco.  I wouldn’t wear red.  I don’t know how many times I listened to the song Ute Busters.  I wanted to play football at BYU.  I liked BYU because my parents did and I was conditioned to do so.  Now this wasn’t their fault.  It wasn’t my fault.  Truly no one is at fault.  We were all just poor victims of conditioning.   I didn’t know any better.  This conditioning as many are aware goes deep. It crosses boundaries that include much more than football.  This conditioning encompasses more than just football and pierces the heart of those that are around it bringing into question their worthiness to go to heaven or even be part of a family.  Am I OK if I have sex before marriage, Am I ok if I drink, Am I ok if I use profanity, Am I ok if I go down to Starbucks and get my favorite latte, (Hell am I ok to even go to Starbucks and get a muffin in the fear that I may be seen and its perceived that I’m getting coffee.).  Am I ok if I don’t like BYU?  The BYU identity has been conditioned into them around religion and the Mormon religion in particular.  (I’m sorry Latter Day Saints).  If these “social norms” aren’t followed guilt and shame can torment a persons life.  So I feel bad for these poor lost souls.   Sometimes ridden with guilt/shame over the most ridiculous stories.   Rooting for BYU gives the cougar fan a chance to temporarily forget about all of these stories and just worry about who they will likely lose to this week.  Meanwhile unknowingly they are stuck in a story themselves rooting for a team they are conditioned to love and root for while in their souls they bleed Ute red.

I get it; some of you are saying I wasn’t conditioned to be a BYU fan I’ve always liked them.  I’m sure there is some Eskimo in far Northern Alaska that is a BYU fan that says this exact same thing.  But look a little closer and you will see that for years all he had as a child and growing up was some rabbit ears antenna that on good days would get the BYU channel and they were able to watch BYU football reruns. The only visitors they would get was a semi monthly visit from the Mormon missionaries that would drop off another copy of the Book of Mormon and bring them a can of Postum.    Un-benounced to the Eskimo or the missionaries is one of the missionaries is secretly gay unable to share their secret because of the possible ramifications from his/her community and just wants to be loved and accepted for who they are.   Helping continue a cycle to the next generation of lost conditioned Cougar fans with the soul of a Ute.  There is hope however even a poorly conditioned and trained dog can be retrained and taught.  These lost souls of course are not animals but they are to the core Ute warriors waiting for the right pair of glasses to get better vision.  So fellow fans as these souls begin to understand their true nature welcome them with loving arms and love and kindness.   Trust me the view is much better through the lens of a Ute.

 

 

 

 

TY’S GIFT

I thought it would be appropriate today to wish my friend a happy birthday.  It has been nearly a year since his passing and I initially thought that I might share a funny antidote and story about some of my memories with Ty.  I decided that for now I will keep those fond stories to myself except for one that has more to do with me and how his life and memory has affected my life.  To me life is just our perception of these stories and how we choose to let these stories become us.

It wasn’t uncommon over the years that people would comment to me that they were impressed that our friendship remained for so long after High school and that most of their friendships drifted apart.  While over time this did happen I always knew that if needed Ty and many of my other friends would be there without question or judgment.  Ty sent a text to me and a dear friend of mine several months before his passing that at the time I didn’t know why but I decided to save.  I would like to share it now.  “My brothers heart stopped last night. They were able to resuscitate him but he is back on a breathing machine.  I’m only sending this because I was really touched that you both came to the game last week and I miss you guys.  I miss the friendship that we used to have and want to work on repairing it.  I want some close friends that I can turn to at times like this.”  To me these few words say a million things about the kind of person Ty is.  The love and compassion he has for family members and his brother.  His willingness to be vulnerable and ask for help in time of need.   The importance of friendship and connection.  His understanding that life is short, fragile, and to let shit go. That love, relationships, and friendships are important if not everything.

When Ty passed away I had been batting with a substance abuse problem with alcohol for several years with countless attempts at failed recovery.  Ty was well aware of the issue and new of my new attempt at recovery and I would like to think he was excited for me I believe he said as much.  I had only been in recovery a short while when he passed away. This was the first gift that Ty gave me after his passing.  In the past I would have handled his passing completely different and would have been a mess.  I even think to this day I would’ve been justified in my actions.  Full of anger, hate, and distain for what had transpired.  Trying to find my answer at the bottom of a bottle.  This is when without knowing I had a shift.   I learned among other things that I was able to cope to horrible situations without being altered and I have to power to choose.  I felt the genuine unconditional love that I had for this person and by doing that I was able to slowly feel the love that I had for all of those I was close to and even some I’m not.  Most importantly love for myself.  While this was always inside me I just didn’t know where to find it or that I was even looking for it.  It was never lost I was right there with me.  To me this is were Ty is.   There is a connectivity that I have difficulty explaining predicated with love.  I had a newfound appreciation for my life and didn’t want to squander even a second of it. I was learning to begin to live without fear, not worried about judgement of others, and the value of my truth.  I was realizing that I am not me but rather I am being me.  I have been able to rekindle friendships lost and build on existing ones.   I was able to find the joy in life.  At the end of the day all we really have is love, ourselves, and our relationships with others.