Meditation

Funny Meditation

Meditation is an active process to train your mind.  This form of training can be done to relax or focus your mind when needed.

According to Harvard Researcher Herbert Benson, meditation triggers a ‘relaxation response’ that causes activity reduction of the sympathetic nervous system.

Areas meditation research have shown to help are:  lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, stress relief and my favorite deep relaxation.

Meditation practice can be used throughout the day to help improve your walk into the future.

Find a comfortable place when needed to begin your meditation process.

My day starts with a minimum of 5 minutes to meditate and properly prepare for the day.  I prefer a completely dark room without distractions (TV, music, etc.) in the background.  This process allows me to calm my thought process and identify things I want to focus on for the day.  I make a few declarations during this time:

  • Today will be a great day
  • I will make a difference today
  • Positive thoughts create positive results
  • Others as needed

This provides the springboard needed to start the day off to generate desired results.

Meditating at work is a little more challenging but can be accomplished.

For those with an actual office, look for an opportunity to close your door for a few minutes.  Sit comfortably and close your eyes to begin.  Focus on your breathing and how your body reacts.  Let the concepts of your breathing rhythms help calm your mind, body and heart rate.   This process provides the most benefit when experiencing high stress periods in the work day.  Consistency in your meditation practice will allow you to find time in the day to take this mental and physical break needed.

For those in a cubicle environment, look for an opportunity to get up from your desk and walk.  You can use this time to refocus, collect your thoughts or relax as needed.  A quick trip down the hall or outside to find a quiet spot to recharge can be the thing needed to get through a trying day.

Leverage meditation during your day to regain focus, relax and eliminate stress.  It will not be one size fits all but can be beneficial to help you accomplish what’s needed.

How can you use meditation to help conquer your day?  Curious.

meditate3

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting continues to grow in popularity as more people discover the positive benefits of the program.

I was introduced to the concept through a friend during my time in Orlando.  Decided to give it a try after doing my personal research.  The concept of fasting does not appeal to most people and I was skeptical how this would improve health and physical wellbeing.

I currently use the 16:8 model—16 hours of fasting with an 8-hour window to eat.  I can eat whatever I want during the 8-hour window including desserts.  No solid food at all during the 16-hour fasting window.  Example:  8-hour window = 11 am – 7 pm, 16-hour window = 7 pm – 11 am.  This can be adjusted based on daily activities.

Other popular Intermittent Fasting models are:

  • Eat-Stop-Eat—you would fast for 24 hours, once or twice a week
  • 5:2 Diet—take in 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days while eating normally on the other 5 days

I always work out and run on an empty stomach so not eating first thing in the morning was not a tough adjustment for me when I decided to utilize Intermittent Fasting.  Your body will adjust to this concept quickly.  The initial hunger you feel will subside over time during your ‘fast’ period.  You can also suppress hunger by increasing your water intake.  Again, you can eat whatever you want during the 8-hour eating window.  No calorie counting, no avoiding certain foods during this timeframe.  Enjoy your meals, drinks and dessert if you want.

I have not lost a massive amount of weight while following the intermittent fasting program.  I have lost inches on my waist and my body composition is more toned than before.  I attribute the toning process to my body using fat as energy during my fasting period.  I’m sure I can lose more weight if needed by adjusting the foods I eat during the 8-hour period.  I have a love affair with cake, so I’ve never eliminated it from my diet.

The best thing about intermittent fasting is you own the process.  You can adjust the program to fit your daily lifestyle, weekend plans or travel.  It is not so rigid where you feel you are cheating if you break the times on occasion. Just pick back up as soon as you can to continue to reap the benefits of this health program.

Check out intermittent fasting to see if the program would work for you.

Intermittent Fasting

Kayak Adventures

Decided to explore the Wacissa River today via Kayak.  Wanted to add a new adventure to my ‘Walk into the Future’ and did some research on local Kayak outfitters.  Discovered the Wacissa River Canoe and Kayak Rentals outfit was only a 20-minute drive from me and had very reasonable prices for their rental options.

The owners and staff were very friendly and had great knowledge of the Wacissa River and the multiple channels that branched off from the main river.  They outfitted me with a sit-on kayak, life vest, paddle, map and final instructions for my adventure.

Launching off was easy and the day on the river began with me exploring multiple local inlets close to the outfitters docks.  I realized it has been right at 4 years since I last kayaked so needed to get my balance and paddle rotations down again.  Took me about 10 minutes to get the hang of kayaking again and I was off.

There was a lot off overhead cover (shade) on the initial part of my adventure.  The outfitters also rent cabins that sit right on the river, so I rode by several of them on my way out to the open waters of the Wacissa river.  There were a few other kayakers out but not a lot of water traffic or noise during the time out on the water.

The wild life on the river was close by and amazing!  Saw several different type and shape turtles just hanging out and sunning themselves.  Of course, every time I tried to get close to take a picture, they immediately dove to get away from me.

It took about an hour of paddling the river before I spotted my first eagle.  Very impressive birds but when experienced in the wild they can be awe inspiring.  I was able to float for a bit and watch one have a large fish for lunch.  Got a couple pictures of this without disturbing the eagle or making it decide to dive bomb me.

What’s a kayak trip on a river in North Florida without gators?  Spotted my first one of the day swimming close to where I was observing my eagle friend.  Decided to paddle closer to the gator which was about 7 feet long to get some ‘up close’ photos.  This all made sense when I started paddling.  Luckily, I came to my senses before I got too close to the gator because I had no Plan B for what I would do if it took serious interest in me.  Decided to float a bit instead of heading towards the gator and freaking us both out.  I was able to get some pictures of smaller gators but didn’t linger too long to avoid disturbing them or freaking myself out.

Turning to head back in allowed me to fully take in how far I had traveled on the river without really thinking about distance.  Still didn’t worry about distance but rediscovered kayaking is a great way to burn some calories.  The rotational paddle motion needed to move the kayak will really work your arms, shoulders and core.  Didn’t rush to get back, simply enjoyed the river and the views provided as I came back to the outfitters.

Highly recommend getting out on a kayak or canoe and taking in a peaceful day on the river.

Just don’t disturb gators!

Check out my new friends if you want to kayak the Wacissa:  http://www.wacissarivercanoerentals.com/index.htm

Kayak1

Thanks for Walking with me!

Interesting to note the people who have continued to walk with me into the future.

I have an amazing set of friends, some who have been with me for years and others who have joined my journey more recently.  I appreciate the time they invest in me and do my best to return their investment daily.

A large part of my journey is the inclusion of my friends in this walk.  The daily interactions (texts, emails, calls) I have with my friends allows me to continue to grow and know I’m making a positive difference in their lives.  I get great joy receiving a text about a professional accomplishment or huge ‘money move’ (Cardi B. reference) from my friends.  This keeps me motivated to continue to find ways to help others exceed their stated goals.

The ability to make a difference daily has not diminished at all.  Walking into the future has provided me additional avenues to help others while experiencing new adventures in my life.  The ability to be available for conversations, texts and emails without schedule constraints is the best aspect of my walk so far.  I’m enjoying being able to branch out into multiple areas (travel, leadership, life, music, etc.) while walking into the future.

Really looking forward to seeing what else this walk brings into my life!  I’m sure travel and mentoring will play a huge part!

Thank you to my Board of Directors who keep me balanced daily!

Thank you

Irie

The easiest definition for the Jamaican word Irie is total peace with your current state of being or the way you feel when you have no worries (Urban Dictionary).

Spend anytime with or around Jamaicans and you will hear someone respond to a greeting with Irie ‘mon.  This laid back and carefree way of life can be infectious and inspiring if you let it.

So, how can you get to the Irie level in your daily life?  Positive self-talk!

Positive self-talk and thinking can transform your daily interactions.  The benefits to your psyche are visible as soon as you start the process.  How many people say they are not a morning person?  This is a negative self-talk concept.  You have just ruined your day by putting yourself in a negative state of mind.  Why not welcome the morning with open arms?  Change the negative thoughts of the morning with positive thoughts.  State today will be a great day and watch how your actual day matches up with your positive thoughts.

Positive self-talk can be applied in multiple areas of your life.  Apply for a new job with confidence and know you have put your best efforts into the process.  Don’t openly doubt yourself and take on the negative side of a situation.  Positive self-talk will allow you to enjoy the prospects of going to the gym, meeting new people, finding a hobby.  I could go on and on with this concept but hopefully you can see ways to incorporate positive self-talk into your daily routines.

Make a few declarations:

  • Today will be a great day
  • I’m a fantastic student
  • I’m feeling great
  • Looking forward to my run
  • Nothing can stop me today

How can you add positive self-talk into your personal conversations?  Curious!

Let’s get Irie!

Irie

Walk

Took a walk today in my hometown, Jasper, Florida.  Small farming community in North Central Florida on the Florida/Georgia line.

Why write about a walk in a small town?

Well, decided to take a simple walk after dinner just to get a few steps in.  I inadvertently left my cell phone behind but discovered this was a very fortunate mistake.

No cell phone, headphones or other electronics provided me an opportunity to truly enjoy my walk.  The peacefulness I found simply taking in nature (birds, trees, the sunset) was an amazing aspect of the walk.  Yes, I’ve walked in my hometown before but how many times have you really escaped from your electronics and just enjoyed the moment?

My stroll allowed me to burn a few calories and still enjoy the process of my walk.  No specific place to be or time to get there during this walk allowed me to get lost in plain sight and just enjoy the moment.  Enjoyed a two-mile stroll without ever thinking about the need to check email, text messages or my watch.  Felt funny at first but think I like getting away from my electronics for a little while.

Will look to make this type of getaway a regular staple to help focus on the important things in life.

When’s the last time you left your electronics behind on purpose?  How would this process help in your daily life?

Get Fit

Why not use your walk into the future to work on your physical well-being?

A lot of people make January resolutions to motivate themselves to get fit.  You don’t have to limit your motivational time frame to January, you can decide to work on your physical goals anytime of the year.

Check your local area for 5k races and sign up.  There are multiple ways to get ready for your first 5K (3.1 miles).  A very popular program is called ‘Couch to 5K’ which will start you out with a walk/run platform and build your endurance, so you can start and complete a 5K.  You can use this or a similar program to begin the process of joining in the fun of a race weekend when ready.  Remember to set measurable goals for yourself.  Example:  Complete your first 5k under 35 minutes.  Your training and mindset should be geared towards meeting or exceeding your measured 5k goal.

Another area you may want to explore is strength training.  Building muscle is a great way to reshape your body and enjoy yourself in the process.  Start slow and give yourself time to get use to the ‘gym culture’ and build an individual program.  You may want to utilize a personal trainer as you get started to learn proper techniques and to create a program to maximize your results.  Again, set measurable goals for yourself and make sure you stretch those new muscles.

My walk into the future has allowed me to update my personal fitness goals.  I read on Men’s Fitness.com about a guy who decided to walk/run a 5k daily to help him lose weight.  He was able to drop over 50 pounds with this process.  He started out walking and built himself up to being able to run a full 5k within his documented schedule.

I’m not trying to lose 50 pounds but plan to leverage a similar approach as I gear up for my next half marathon in October.  I have completed two half marathons so far this year (Rock and Roll New Orleans and Nashville).  My stated goal for 2018 was to run 4 half marathons.  I’m well on my way to meeting this written goal.  I recently adjusted this goal a bit to include running a half marathon under 2 hours.  My personal record for a half marathon is 2 hours and 15 minutes (2:15).  I believe adjusting to the daily 5k program will help me increase my mileage base and speed as I gear up for the next half marathon.  We will see how this new approach and mindset will work for me. Gearing up for the USO Armed Forces Half in October:  http://jaxusohalfmarathon.com/#info

(FYI—I completed 12 5k’s in July).

What fitness goals did you set for 2018?  How’s your progress towards meeting or exceeding those goals.  Don’t be afraid to adjust as needed but keep moving forward—you can do it!

SAMPLE Training plan below:Track Shack

Philly Soul

What comes to mind when you hear Hall and Oates?

Group from the 80’s, blue-eyed soul, lots of hit songs or I remember them?  I’m guessing all those things crossed your mind when I mentioned them and yes, they are still around.

I was extremely happy to discover Hall and Oates was touring the country again this summer.  I grew up listening to their music and watching the early videos on MTV and Night Tracks on TBS.  Turns out the Hall and Oates video for Family Man (H20 album) was the first video aired on Night Tracks.  It seems they were always churning out a hit or two that captured my attention and had me singing along with them.  (FYI:  Night Tracks aired June 1983 – May 1992).

Sometimes you forget how many hits an artist has until you see them live.  The closest place I could see Hall and Oates was in Orlando at the Amway Center.  I’ve been in the Amway for college and professional basketball games but never for a concert.  Multiple outlets had tickets available but decided to use Vividseats.com since this site didn’t have the ‘extra’ fees associated with booking directly with the Amway Center or Ticketmaster.  I’m always looking for a deal!

Train was the opening act for Hall and Oates.  I’ve heard some of their music but I’m not a fan.  I was pleasantly surprised to see and hear a lot of Hall and Oates fans singing along to every word of Train’s set.  Turns out the lead singer is from the Philadelphia area and has been influenced by Hall and Oates.  May have to give them another listen knowing this new fact.

Hall and Oates started their set with Maneater which was one of their largest hits from the 80’s.  Their sound and band were better than I expected.  The musicianship displayed was impressive and had everyone standing, singing and dancing along.  They covered about an hour and a half of their hits going back to the early days: She’s Gone, Can’t Stop the Music, Sara Smile, Rich Girl, Kiss on My List, Maneater, One on One and new stuff [Philly forget me Not with Train].

Texted one of my Philly area friends during the show and asked for her favorite Hall and Oates song.  She gave me two:  She’s Gone and Rich Girl.  I texted back my favorite Hall and Oates song is:  Sarah Smile.  Of course, this changed as they played hit after hit and I loved each one of them.  Guess my true favorite Hall and Oates song is the most recent one I hear.   Their sound and music carry well, and they will be making audiences smile for years to come.  Their last encore song was You Make my Dreams Come True.  What an appropriate song to send fans home–well done Hall and Oates!

Went back and watched their 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and they performed just as well there.  Hit after hit and making the crowd smile.

What’s your favorite Hall and Oates song? When’s the last time you listened to it? I recommend going to YouTube and experiencing it again—enjoy!Hall and Oates

Spin Class

When’s the last time you took a spin class?  Well, decided to get back in the saddle today and tried spinning again.  Wanted to enhance my current cardio routine with something challenging without having to go out and fight the Florida heat and humidity summer brings.  Found a local church with a Fitness Ministry where they offer multiple class formats and times to reach a larger population.

The church allows registered participants to attend the first class for free.  This was a bonus as I have been searching for additional ways to supplement my cardio and half marathon training program.  Thought spin would be a fun and challenging way to burn more calories and interact (network) with others in the community.

Our instructor was very nice and made everyone feel welcome.  She had to spend a little extra time with me to get my bike set-up since I haven’t been on a spin bike in about 4 years.  Once we got my seat and handle bar height levels corrected, the fun began.  Several warm up routines got us physically and mentally prepared for a hard, fun and energizing 45-minute ride.   The instructor made a point to let us all know the ride would be at our individual pace.  We were coached to take breaks, adjust pedal tension and get water whenever needed.  This made the class an enjoyable experience for me.  There were several times I didn’t know if I could make it over the next ‘hill’ but our instructor kept me moving forward and I was able to complete the entire 45-minute circuit.  Not bad for my first time back in the saddle after a 4-year layoff.

Looking forward to getting back and taking my next class.  Thinking about buying a package of classes since I know they will get used especially over the hot summer months.

An extra benefit of spin class was the mind cleaning aspects the ride had.  I was able to completely focus on riding my bike over the next hill.  The breathing techniques we utilized helped free my mind and created a unique experience for me.  I know it was just a spin class, but the enjoyment of the ride was eye opening and has me looking forward to my next visit.

This Fitness Ministry is an excellent way to give back and help the community!  Well done!

What have you always wanted to try or do but never make the time?  When will you free your mind with a ‘spin’ class?

Why Walk into the Future?

Walk into the Future signifies the ability to understand tomorrow is coming and you should not be afraid to move forward.  The way you decide to walk into the future will be your own unique journey.  Chart your course and then work to navigate your way towards the life goals you decide to create.  Use your time to explore and find what makes you happy on this new journey.  Examples include:

  • Take that vacation you have been putting off
  • Decide to create your own blog to document your walk into the future
  • Make time for family and friends (again)
  • Discover new talents you may have or wanted to explore
  • Live life the way you want to

The specifics of these examples can be worked out in more detail but leverage this concept to guide your journey.

My first ‘walk’ was to head down to Negril, Jamaica to enjoy the food, sun and culture.  This experience was a way to unwind and recharge my mental focus.  I was able to catch up on some long overdue reading for personal enjoyment.  The ability to consume works by my favorite authors brings me a lot of joy, so this was an added benefit of walking into the future via my trip to Negril.  Time for naps was readily available and enjoyed during this phase as well.  What’s a trip to Negril, Jamaica without a trip to Rick’s Café to watch people (tourists and locals) take turns cliff diving.  The reggae is awesome, and the sunsets are great at Rick’s Café.  Being there enjoying the irie vibe is a tremendous way to unwind and enjoy the island.

This recharge will be used to launch several 2018 projects to bring me closer to who I want to be (professional and personal) and to bring a new level of good to my community.  The charge is to make a difference daily!

Enjoy the process!  Walk—don’t run!

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