How to Make Wooden Push-Up Bars in 10 Easy Steps

“Push-ups, sit-ups, and a strict diet of raisins. That’s my plan!” – Jack Black

Alright ladies and gents, all joking aside… I had an idea to do a series of blog posts on how to make your own workout equipment! This weekend, I made some wooden push-up bars out of leftover scrap wood and thought you might like to know how to make yourself a pair.

If you plan to Unleash Your Ultimate Potential, you’ve gots to keep pushing on and pushing up!!! 😉

I’m breaking this down into 10 Easy Steps and if you follow the plan closely, by the end, you will wind up with your very own, high quality push-up bars for little to no moolah. In fact, the ones featured above cost me absolutely nothing since I had the scrap wood and all of the materials on hand.

“Push-ups, sit-ups, and a strict diet of raisins. That’s my plan!” – Jack Black

how to make wooden push up bars

Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee walk into a bar. After ordering a round of brewskies, Chuck turns to Bruce and poses him a simple question, “Bruce, how many push-ups can you do?” Bruce Lee rubs his chin for a second (as he deeply ponders the question) and then turns to Chuck with his answer… “All of them!”, he says.

Alright ladies and gents, all joking aside… I had an idea to do a series of blog posts on how to make your own workout equipment! This weekend, I made some wooden push-up bars out of leftover scrap wood and thought you might like to know how to make yourself a pair.

If you plan to Unleash Your Ultimate Potential, you’ve gots to keep pushing on and pushing up!!!  😉

I’m breaking this down into 10 Easy Steps and if you follow the plan closely, by the end, you will wind up with your very own, high quality push-up bars for little to no moolah. In fact, the ones featured above cost me absolutely nothing since I had the scrap wood and all of the materials on hand.

Now, this may or may not be the case for you… So, let’s start with a list of the materials and tools you’ll need if you want to make a pair of these wooden push-up bars.

List of Materials:

  • Roughly 2 feet of a leftover 2″X10″ piece of Pinewood
  • 16-20 inches of a leftover wooden dowel
  • 1 piece of paper or cardboard for a template
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain and/or Polyurethane

Tools you may need:

  • Jigsaw
  • Sander and 100 grit sand paper
  • Forstner or Spade bit (ideally the same size as the wooden dowel)
  • 1/2″ chisel (if your bit is not the same size as the wooden dowel)
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or Pen
  • Paint brush

Do you have all of that? If so, LET’S DO THIS THING!

If NOT, you’re gonna have to make a little trip on down to the local hardware store. Go on, we’ll wait for ya! lol

By the way, if you need to see any of the finer details, you can click on any of the below pictures to enlarge them.

 

Step 1: Design Your Template and Trace Out the Four End Pieces

how to make wooden push up bars
Step 1: Design your template for the end pieces

First things first, you’ll need to design your template for the end pieces of the push-up bars. Ultimately, it can be whatever shape you’d like (as long it’s a fairly stable one).

I used a small dish (about the diameter of a coffee cup) to trace 3 interlooping circles within a 6″X9″ rectangular area.

Use your scissors to cut out the completed template and trace the template four times onto your 2″x10″ piece of pinewood.

You can save some wood and a couple cuts if you stack the templates one on top of the other. If ya know what I mean!

Step 2: Use a Jig Saw to Cut Those Suckas Out

wooden push-up bars
Step 2: Use a Jig Saw to cut out the end pieces

Once you’ve traced the patterns onto your wood you’ll carefully use your jig saw to cut out the four end pieces.

Use something to elevate the wood off of the ground so you can make the cuts. I simply used an old cardboard box. Although, you might be lucky enough to have a wood working platform or table to use!

Make sure to hold the saw firmly, go slow, and closely follow the lines of the template. Any minor mistakes can be corrected when it comes time to sand them down.

So don’t be too meticulous!

 

Step 3: Use a Forstner Bit to Bore Out the Hole for the Handle.

push up handles
Step 3: Bore out the holes for the handles

Ideally, you will use a Forstner or spade bit that is the same diameter of the handle. In this case, simply bore out the hole for the handle and then you can skip to step five.

I used a piece of tape to mark the depth I needed to go on the spade bit. Then bored the holes half way through the 2″X10″.

If you don’t have the ideal bit, use a smaller one and see step four!

Step 4: Chisel Out the Hole to the Correct Size of the Handle

do push-up bars work
Step 4: Use a chisel to achieve the correct diameter hole

I didn’t have the correct size bit, so I used a 1″ spade to bore the holes half way through the 2″X10″.

Then I had to use a chisel to remove the rest of the wood; creating the proper diameter for the handle to fit.

This took me a little bit of extra time to hammer and chisel out the proper diameter. After I got close, I took a piece of 100 grit sand paper to smooth the inside of the holes a little bit.

Finally, I lightly tapped in the dowels using my hammer. I didn’t hammer them all the way in, just enough to test if the handles would fit.

Step 5: Sand Them Down Smooth and Round the Edges

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Step 5: Sand the end pieces and the handles

You’ll want your push-up bars to be nice and smooth! So the next step is to use a few pieces of 100 grit sandpaper to sand them down.

I used a little palm held sander and smoothed the faces of the end pieces. Then I turned my attention to the sides to get nice round and smooth circles.

Finally, I spent some time rounding the edges, so I had no sharp corners. Oh yeah, remember to sand down the handles too!

Step 6: Use Wood Glue to Secure the Handles to the End Pieces

how to make wooden push up bars
Step 6: Glue the handles and end pieces together

Now there’s a few ways I could have secured the handles into place; nails, screws, or glue!

I opted for wood glue, mainly for aesthetic purposes, as I didn’t want an unsightly nail or screw messing up that purty wood grain finish.

In this scenario, the handles are inserted halfway inside the end pieces, and that’s what’s actually supporting your weight. The glue is just keeping everything together!

Step 7: Apply a Finish to Make Them Look Extra Pretty

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Step 7: Stain and Polyurethane to complete the finish

This is an optional step! You might like the unfinished wood grain, which does look nice by itself. Plus, being unfinished wood, it would provide the added benefit of absorbing sweat from your hands.

Personally, I’m not a heavy sweater and I love stained wood! On top of that, I just happened to have an unopened container of Minwax. 

Normally, it is a two step process; first one would stain it, and then finish it with polyurethane if desired. Here I used a one step walnut stain and polyurethane combo.

Step 8: Allow Them to Dry Before Putting Them on the Carpet!

push-up equipment
Step 8: Allow them to dry fully before touching them

Okay, now this is a very important step! You’ll want to let them fully dry before playing with them or putting them on the carpet.

In theory, this step seems easy. Although, it sure was hard to resist wanting to test them out for six hours while the stain/polyurethane dried.

Overall, I thought they turned out really nice (despite a few runs and imperfections).

Step 9: Assume a Proper Push-up Position

push-up bar exercises
Step 9: Assume a Proper Push-up Position

Alright, they have finally dried! Now it’s time to push-up or shut-up. lol

One of the great things about push-up handles is that they can be easier on your wrists than having your hands on the floor.

You can choose many different ways and angles to position them. For starters, a neutral grip is a safe, strong, and stable position to do push-ups.

Set the handles about shoulder-width apart. Grip the handles and support your bodyweight over your hands. Now contract your glutes, abs, legs, and lats.

Get everything tight and notice the straight line from my head, upper back, butt and down my legs. This is your starting position!

Step 10: Do All of Your Push-ups just like Bruce Lee

push-up bar workout
Step 10: Do lots of push-ups until you become a bad-ass

Maintain the tight, plank-like position and from there lower yourself down (slowly and under full control) by allowing your arms to bend to your sides.

It is safer and stronger to keep your arms closer to your body (within a 0-60 degree angle) rather than flaring your elbows way out to 90 degrees.

Once you’ve lowered yourself as far as you can, simply reverse the motion using the muscles in your triceps, shoulders and chest to push yourself back up.

Enjoy hours and hours of push-up fun and other exercises! 😀

How to Make Wooden Push-up Bars like an ol’ Pro!

There you have it folks; 10 easy steps to make yourself a pair of wooden push-up bars!

I took my pair to the office and use them to as a part of my strength/mobility program to counteract the hours of sitting I do every day. The bars work great for a variety of push-ups, planks or planche holds, L-sits, hand-stands and whatever other exercises you can do or come up with… but we’ll save that for another article!

Here’s a quick summary of the 10 steps:

  • Step 1: Design your template for the end pieces
  • Step 2: Use a Jig Saw to cut out the end pieces
  • Step 3: Bore out the holes for the handles
  • Step 4: Use a chisel to achieve the correct diameter hole
  • Step 5: Sand the end pieces and the handles
  • Step 6: Glue the handles and end pieces together
  • Step 7: Stain and Polyurethane to complete the finish
  • Step 8: Allow them to dry fully before touching them
  • Step 9: Assume a proper push-up position
  • Step 10: Do lots of push-ups until you become a bad-ass

Well, my friend, I hope I covered everything in enough detail for you to plan and build yourself a pair of these push-up bars. If not, please leave any questions or comments you may have for me down below.

Really you could knock these out in 5-6 steps if you have the correct spade bit, skip the finish, and already know how to do push-ups! BAM – Now get to it…

And if you’re still not inspired to make a pair of these wooden push-up bars…. well, I don’t think I can help you. However, maybe this old picture of Bruce Lee doing his famous ‘two-finger push-up’ will!!! If not, maybe you should take up knitting! lol

Bruce Lee two finger push-up
Eventually, you can just use two fingers like Bruce Lee!

My Dog Died Today (Rest in Peace Baby Soma)

“What we have loved and enjoyed, we can never lose… all that we love deeply, becomes a part of us.”
– Helen Keller

My dog died today when I made the final decision to put her down. It was a tough decision for me… and at first, I had high hopes that she might recover from what I hoped was just a cold or infection.

Although, after a few vet trips, blood test and the seriousness of her symptoms – it became imminently clear that Soma was in a lot of pain and wasn’t going to make it.

It was her time to go and my time to let her go!

Once I realized this it became a lot easier for me to make the call and take her to the emergency vet to put an end to her suffering. Even then, saying goodbye to my sweet, baby Soma was a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be.

“What we have loved and enjoyed, we can never lose… all that we love deeply, becomes a part of us.”
– Helen Keller

my dog died today
Soma on her last day… resting peacefully in the grass and enjoying her final sun set

My dog died today when I made the final decision to put her down. It was a tough decision for me… and at first, I had high hopes that she might recover from what I hoped was just a cold or infection. Although, after a few vet trips, blood test and the seriousness of her symptoms – it became imminently clear that Soma was in a lot of pain and wasn’t going to make it.

It was her time to go and my time to let her go!

my dog died today
Soma at 6 weeks old

Once I realized this it became a lot easier for me to make the call and take her to the emergency vet to put an end to her suffering. Even then, saying goodbye to my sweet, baby Soma was a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be.

She has been in my life for almost 14 years — ever since she was a 6 week old puppy. We’ve had a lot of fun times together and she has taught me many life lessons as I wrote about in this blog post a couple of years ago.

She was a really cool dog (wolf) and every time I took her some place people always commented about her or wanted to meet and pet her. She had a certain presence about her that people and even other dogs could sense. Soma walked with her own little prance and swagger. I’m really going to miss her a lot. 🙁
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How to Cope with the Death of a Pet

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Soma was buried at her favorite place… Grandma’s house!

Since my dog just died today, it’s only natural that I was overwhelmed by some emotion.

Especially right at the moment when she was pronounced dead by the vet. I had to carry her lifeless body back to the Jeep so we could take her home to be buried.

One minute she was still alive and with us and in the next… she was gone.

I know many of you reading this may have lost a pet recently or perhaps at some time in the distant past.

It can be a painful and traumatic experience when some one or some animal we love falls ill and succumbs to death. It may feel like a hole was ripped in the fabric of time itself or like a shooting pain suffocating your heart.

Simply stated… it hurts.

In American society, death is considered a loss and a time to grieve for the departed. Sadness often goes hand in hand with this event and the more the person or animal meant to us… then the more sadness we are expected to feel.

This often has to do with the fact that we loved them greatly, will miss them dearly and that our lives will never be the same without them.

Even though my culture and many others tend to see death as a time of mourning, I’ve personally come to believe that death should be a celebration!
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Death should be a celebration of the departed’s life, the joy they brought to others, the difference they made in this world, the lessons or love that they shared with others while alive… and a celebration of their return back to the divine source from which we all arise.

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And while I’m happy that her consciousness is freed from the constraints of this physical form… I still felt an immense sadness from her passing.

Ultimately, it’s how we interpret death and the meaning which we assign to it, that can either prolong the pain – OR – transmute our pain back into peace and joy. Of course, the time period for grieving is unique to each of us. So be patient with yourself and others.
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Expressing and Transmuting Emotions When A Pet Dies

what to do when your dog dies
Soma ma Loma Jeskovia (March 6th, 2001 – February 1st, 2015)

Okay, I’ll admit it… I was pretty sad when my dog died today. But how could you NOT be, just look at that cute lil face!

Yes, I even shed a few tears for the loss of my sweet Somz. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! Do you?

You may feel pain, sadness, confusion, disbelief, anger or any number of strong emotions when a pet dies…

As a human being, it’s perfectly natural and valid to have these feelings. It’s extremely important to acknowledge them.

Give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling without restriction. There’s no need to hide it or deny it or resist the expression of your emotions.

They are simply a part of the human experience and there’s really no shame to feeling them at all.
Just let them flow now so that you can let them go later.

Otherwise, these strong negative feelings and emotions cause the release or certain chemicals, stress hormones and other biological responses, which directly influence the health of your cells, organs and immune system.

Since our minds and emotions have a strong affect on our bodies, you want to express your emotions and handle them as they arise. In this way, you can release them quickly and prevent any long-term affects they may cause to your bodily systems.
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Unexpressed and unresolved feelings can become repressed within ourselves and lead to physical and psychological pain and problems in the future. This is why it’s so important to deal with your feelings and acknowledge them when they first arise.
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when a pet dies
Express your feelings and let them flow

In our society, we are taught to be stoic and men especially are not supposed to show our feelings. We are told to “suck it up” and “be strong” or “be a man” and basically discouraged from expressing our true feelings.

From an evolutionary perspective, men needed to repress their emotions to do some of the horrible, yet necessary things we were faced with in the past; like brutal hand-to-hand combat and fighting to the death to protect their family and fellow tribesmen.

It was a hard and harsh life and men had to cut off their feelings in order to act and do what needed to be done. It’s hard to kill and live with yourself, unless you cut yourself off from all of these “girly” emotions. haha

Unfortunately, repressing your emotions in this way is terrible for your health and psychological well being. Modern men and women need to learn to face their feelings and develop their emotional intelligence.

And while I understand the need to be a strong man, show emotional control  and keep from breaking down in public… I feel that it’s more than okay in our contemporary society to let a tear slip from your eye in the presence of others.

It’s your puppy and you can cry if you want to! The point is to let the feelings flow and then let them go so that you can move on quickly.

Once you’ve expressed your emotions and let them out, the goal becomes emotional transmutation. In other words, the transforming of negative feelings like sadness, anger and despair into a higher feelings of peace, joy and love.

For example, if you are thinking about your pet a few days from now and you suddenly feel sad again and the overwhelming surge of emotion rising up within you… stop, raise your arms in a V, look to the sky and smile.

Smile at the loving memories and all of the great times you shared with the deceased. Imagine that they are now at peace and in a better place. Free from harm. Free from pain. Free from suffering.

You may notice that it’s hard to feel sad or depressed when you shift into this posture and smile. This is because your physiology has a tremendous effect on your psychology and the way you feel.
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With emotional transmutation, the purpose is not to deny your feelings, but rather to let go and come to a place of acceptance and surrender to what is.

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The reality is that your pet has died. To resist this or deny it in anyway will only be a cause of further and prolonged suffering for you. In the end, death will come for us all…. so let us accept this fact now. Allow it to spur you to live your life more fully and completely from this day forward.

To paraphrase Eckhart Tolle; The secret of life is to “die before you die” and realize that there is no death.
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Have a Dog Funeral and Create a Dog Memorial for Your Pet

dog funeral
Kaya saying goodbye to her step-sister

One thing my mom suggested, before burying Soma, was to snip a lock of her hair as a keepsake to remember her by. I thought this was a good idea, so I actually made five locks of hair… kept one for myself and gave one to my mother, brother, father and ex-girlfriend (all people who loved Soma dearly and would miss her.)

We decided to bury Soma’s body in the woods at her Grandma’s house. She always loved going to visit my mother and father and their two German Shepherd dogs, Coco and Kady. We had a short little dog funeral, paid our respects to Soma and gave thanks for the joy she brought into our lives.

One thing I plan to do is to go through all of our photographs, select some of the best and create an online dog memorial celebrating her life. I will post it on here later.

You could do something similar in memory of your dog!

Sorry for your loss,

Brandon Cook

P.S. My mom also gave me a funny photograph of Soma and I, which brings a smile to my face every time I see it. You can check it out below. Also be sure to find a funny or favorite picture of you and your dog and use it as a visual tool for emotional transmutation. It really works!
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Rest in Peace Baby Soma!

dog memorials

 

 

 

3 Enlightening Health Benefits of Hiking and Being in Nature

“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” – Edward Abbey

As I started out on the trail, slivers of the sun shone through the tall, almost naked trees. I peered out across the calm, stillness of the lake as it glistened in the fading warmth of the autumn sun.

My two dogs, oblivious to the magic of this all, were more interested in the smells recently left at the base of a near oak tree. 😆

Suddenly, I knew this was a special moment…. a moment that needed to be captured and remembered on film. As I took out my now obsolete iPhone 3Gs, I wondered…

Why? What made this moment any more special than the other hundred hikes I’ve had around this very same lake on this very same trail?

health benefits of hiking“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” – Edward Abbey

As I started out on the trail, slivers of the sun shone through the tall, almost naked trees. I peered out across the calm, stillness of the lake as it glistened in the fading warmth of the autumn sun.

My two dogs, oblivious to the magic of this all, were more interested in the smells recently left at the base of a near oak tree. 😆

Suddenly, I knew this was a special moment…. a moment that needed to be captured and remembered on film. As I took out my now obsolete iPhone 3Gs, I wondered…
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Why? What made this moment any more special than the other hundred hikes I’ve had around this very same lake on this very same trail?
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Then it dawned on me (since the park closes for December and January each year) that this would be the last hike around the lake for 2014...  Somehow this ‘last hike of the year‘ became a symbolic metaphor and an encapsulation of every hike and good time I’ve ever had here.

UPDATE 2/2/2015: My Baby Soma passed away yesterday, so this really was her last hike at the lake and a special moment to capture. Somehow I must have known that intuitively. 😥
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The Last Hike Around the Lake for 2014

Kaya and Soma
Kaya and Soma starting off down the trail

Ever since we discovered this little park six years ago…. it’s been a great find!

The park is based around lake Mackintosh, which is used as the primary water reserve for the city of Burlington. The park itself offers a 3 mile hiking trail through the woods and over some nice terrain.

If 3 miles is more than you plan to hike in a given day, it also offers a one mile loop trail, as well as, a half-mile trail for those who just want to take a short stroll.

The park is run by the city and has a playground for the kids, paddle boats, kayaks and tons of spots for fishing. There are plenty of picnic areas with tables and grills… even a covered area for larger parties.
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Overall, it’s just a nice little place to take your dogs for a hike, go for a trail run, get a playground workout in or even take your friends and family picnicking or kayaking. [weaver_html br /]

Since it’s about a five minute drive from my home, I like to take my dogs there on the weekend to let them smell, walk and get away from the house. They love to ride there in the back of my truck.

In fact, one of my dogs, Kaya, starts freaking out with her “unique and often annoying”  whining and barking routine as soon as we pull into the park.

She basically sounds like a dog with ADD on crack!!! lol… she’s a special dog with special needs. 😉

We walked a little further up the trail as the sun continued its rise higher in the sky… the Golden Hour was upon us. And now that most of the leaves have fallen you can easily see the lake through the trees. I snapped a few more pics.
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Lake Mackintosh is really beautiful in the Fall

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My 3 Favorite Health Benefits of Hiking and Walking

Before planes, trains and automobiles… people actually had to walk from point A to point B and were more fit because of it. Walking and hiking are what the human body was designed for. This is primal and “functional” exercise at its most basic form.

Walking on a flat sidewalk is one thing… yet when you get back to mother nature you have to traverse the terrain as you find it. Of course, most hiking trails have well-worn paths from so much repetitive foot traffic and regular maintenance of the trail.

Even so, you’ll find yourself stepping over roots and rocks, climbing hills, crunching leaves, avoiding mud puddles and crossing small streams or downed trees that may be blocking your path. Additionally, you’ll be dodging the occasional spider web or two.

Over the years, I’ve really come to enjoy hiking and walking. Not only is it a nice form of exercise in its own right, it also provides the opportunity for self-reflection and can be used as a form of moving meditation.
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Health Benefit of Hiking #1: Exercise and Active Recovery

There have been several studies claiming that hiking is a powerful form of aerobic exercise.  More than being good for your heart and cardiovascular system, hiking simultaneously builds strength in the legs and core without the higher impact forces of running or jogging.

This makes it a great choice for an active recovery workout. If you’re not familiar with the term “active recovery“, it simply means doing some form of low intensity exercise or cardio in between your strength training workouts.

Active recovery workouts are usually done on your rest or off days to get your blood flowing, reduce muscle soreness and fatigue and speed the healing and recovery process of your musculoskeletal system. [weaver_html br /]

active recovery workout
Soma Dawg prefers a slower pace  these days. She turns 14 this March 6th and her hind legs have been bothering her lately

Since my old Soma Dawg isn’t moving as fast as she used to, I tend to use hiking for the recovery aspects mentioned above. That being said, hiking can be made easier or harder depending on your goals, desires and intentions for hiking.

You can turn hiking into a higher intensity workout by increasing the speed at which you hike, the distance, adding weighted backpacks or vests, hiking mountains or steeper grade hills and even adding some body weight exercises for your upper body like push-ups or pull-ups from tree limbs.

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

That reminds me of the time my brother took us hiking in the mountains. We started off climbing crazy steep hills and then ended up having to jump from giant rock to giant rock before making it up the mountain to a waterfall. Our legs were burning by the end! Good times. 🙂

From a medical perspective, regular hiking can help lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood pressure and blood sugar, boost bone density, improve balance and decrease depression by boosting your mood.
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Health Benefit of Hiking #2: Opportunity for Self-Reflection

Often, it seems, that our days are filled with one damn thing after another. We’ve got to wake up, get ready, go to work, do this, do that, pick up the kids, take them here and then go there, cook dinner, clean the house, work out, do the laundry, and finally when we are all done… wash your face, brush your teeth and go to bed so we can get up and do it all over again.

When we are constantly doing, doing, doing we seldom have a chance to just be. Unfortunately, it is in these rare moments of quiet solitude that insights and clarity come to us. Hiking provides us with more of these moments and gives us the opportunity for self-reflection.
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You know that moving your body is also good for your mind! Our bodies and our minds are totally interconnected. [weaver_html br /]

Opportunity for Self reflection
“Breathe, breathe in the air. Don’t be afraid to care.” – Pink Floyd

Therefore, our disposition, or ‘natural mental and emotional outlook‘, also has a ripple effect throughout our body.

If we are in a state of constant stress, tension or worry… think about the havoc this is causing to your internal systems!

Hiking provides us the opportunity to leave all of our problems back in city.

As we learn to let go, clear our minds and simply enjoy the nature around us… we are creating space for self-reflection and a more relaxed frame of mind.

One of the things I like to do when hiking is count my blessings and let a deep sense of gratitude flood over my body and my mind. Gratitude is the precursor to an abundance mentality. When you appreciate and embrace your life and the people, gifts and good fortune that have come your way… you are opening the gateway to more abundance, happiness and contentment.

Hiking can be the opportunity to reflect on such things.
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Health Benefit of Hiking #3: Form of Moving Meditation

Getting out of the house and onto the trail will do more than just help you physically and mentally… there are also some spiritual health benefits of hiking through nature.
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Just being in nature is a healing modality all in itself. The sunshine, fresh air, and energy found in natural environments helps to nourish and encourage our bodies to heal. [weaver_html br /]

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Soma’s favorite spot to stop, smell and fully absorb the energy of the present moment

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Many of the Eastern wisdom traditions like Tai Chi, Yoga and Aikido (just to name a few), encourage practicing in nature.  Doing so is said to increase the absorption of the powerful life energy that is all pervasive in the natural world. This powerful energy is known as Chi in Tai Chi, Prana in Yoga and Ki in Aikido.

Whatever you want to call it, this life energy is vital to our health and well-being. Our bodies take in this energy primarily through the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat and also from the natural environment all around us.

This is why there’s such an emphasis on deep, diaphragmatic breathing in each of these eastern art forms and why they encourage the practice of meditation.

We all know meditation is important and provides a plethora of benefits such as taming the mind, reducing stress hormones and anxiety, boosting the immune system, increasing happiness, creativity and expanding consciousness… and some people, like the Buddha, even used it to attain enlightenment… if you’re in to that sort of thing!  :mrgreen:

Well, who says you can only meditate sitting down!?!?

Sure that’s how you’re supposed to do formal, seated meditation… and it is a great practice, for sure. However, eventually the goal is to be able to meditate and be present throughout your daily life, not just during your seated meditation practice!

One way to reach this advanced state of presence is to incorporate various forms of moving meditation into your daily routines. You can do this by taking up one of the Awakened Warrior Disciplines such as Tai Chi, Yoga or Aikido… which I highly encourage you to do.

Thirsty dog
All this hiking is making Soma thirsty!

You can also experiment with turning your daily walks and hikes into forms of moving meditation. These are called Presence Walks and, apparently, I’m not the only one doing these… here Steve Pavlina explains how:

“As you walk keep your conscious attention focused fully and completely on the present moment.  Do not allow any thoughts of past or future to enter your mind.  Do not imagine anything.  Do not subvocalize any of your thoughts (i.e. don’t think in words). 

Focus your complete attention on perceiving the present moment as fully as possible.  See what you see.  Hear what you hear.  Smell what you smell.  Feel what you feel. That’s it.  It sounds simple, but it’s very difficult to master.”

Eventually, you can work to integrate this into your daily life. For example, as someone is speaking to you, clear your mind. Become fully present and attentive to that person. Refrain from thinking about what you are going to say next or anything else. Put all of your focus and awareness on this present moment interaction between you and the other person.

As Olivia Fox Cabane details in her book, The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, this type of presence in our interactions with others is one of the three components to developing a charismatic personality. The other two qualities being power and warmth.

As you continue the practice of taming your mind from identification with the incessant thinking, thought patterns and mental noise, you may begin to realize that you are NOT your mind or your body. You are something much more than that!

You are the consciousness that is beyond your body and mind.

No longer are you merely hiking through the woods… you are hiking through the forest of your own consciousness.  One day, with a flash of insight, you awaken from the Illusion of Separation to realize that  every THING and every ONE is merely a reflection of your Self in a different form.

You are not walking on some random trail… you are the trail. You are not simply observing the lake, the sun and the trees… you are the lake, the sun and the trees.

When the wind blows and whispers in your ear… who is it that is there to hear?
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Do You Hear the Sound of that Mountain Stream?

zen and the mountain stream
Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?

To bring this post to a fitting end, I thought I’d share a short hiking story with you. I first heard this story while listening to an audio book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables.

After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Zen, broke the silence by asking the Master, “Master, how do I enter Zen?”

He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Zen.

The master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke.

“Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?”

The disciple had been busy thinking about the meaning of Zen. Now, as he began to listen to the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to heightened alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.

“Yes, I can hear it now,” he said.

The Master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, “Enter Zen from there.”

Zen master
“Enter Zen from there!”

The disciple was stunned. It was his first satori – a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew!

They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time.

Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question.

“Master,” he said, “I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn’t been able to hear the mountain stream?”

The Master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, “Enter Zen from there.”

 

Unleash the Power of Your Ultimate Potential,

Brandon

America’s First Motorcycle and the Indian Demo Ride

“The connection to place, to the land, the wind, the sun, stars, the moon… it sounds romantic, but it’s true – the visceral experience of motion, of moving through time on some amazing machine – a few cars touch on it, but not too many compared to motorcycles. I always felt that any motorcycle journey was special.”– Antoine Predock

There’s nothing like firing up your bike on a warm, sunny day! Cruising down the back country roads under a Carolina blue sky, amongst the lush trees, farmlands and green pastures… it’s both an exhilarating and yet, mind centering experience.

You become fully present as you seek to tame and control the mechanistic beast you’re riding. Your grip tightening as you accelerate into the rush and resistance of the wind.

The world of problems and mundanity forever behind you; Leaning into the corners and hearing the sound of the engine thundering out of the exhaust pipes as you roll onto the throttle… is all that matters now.

It’s AWESOME, broseph! And that’s why Cory and I jumped at the chance, when a good friend of ours invited us to go check out the Indian Demo ride in Greensboro, North Cackalacky.

“The connection to place, to the land, the wind, the sun, stars, the moon… it sounds romantic, but it’s true – the visceral experience of motion, of moving through time on some amazing machine – a few cars touch on it, but not too many compared to motorcycles. I always felt that any motorcycle journey was special.”– Antoine Predock

Indian Scout Motorcycle

There’s nothing like firing up your bike on a warm, sunny day! Cruising down the back country roads under a Carolina blue sky, amongst the lush trees, farmlands and green pastures… it’s both an exhilarating and yet, mind centering experience.

You become fully present  as you seek to tame and control the mechanistic beast you’re riding. Your grip tightening as you accelerate into the rush and resistance of the wind.

The world of problems and mundanity forever behind you; Leaning into the corners and hearing the sound of the engine thundering out of the exhaust pipes as you roll onto the throttle… is all that matters now.

It’s AWESOME, broseph! And that’s why Cory and I jumped at the chance, when a good friend of ours invited us to go check out the Indian Demo ride in Greensboro, North Cackalacky.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it!!! However, before I do…. a brief motorcycle history lesson:
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America’s First Motorcycle Company

Before Harley Davidson… there was Indian! Say whaaaaat? 😉

“Indian is an American brand of motorcycles originally manufactured from 1901 to 1953 by a company in Springfield, Massachusetts. During the 1910s Indian became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. Indian’s most popular models were the Scout, made from 1920 to 1946, and the Chief, made from 1922 to 1953.” -Wikipedia 

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Indian Scout 600cc circa 1920

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As the battle for American motorcycle dominance raged on… Harley Davidson, as we all know, emerged victorious and The Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company went bankrupt in 1953.

A number of successor organizations have perpetuated the name in recent years, although with apparently limited success… that is until Polaris Industries took over in 2011 and revitalized the Indian name.

Victory Judge
Me on the Vic Judge @ Carolina Wine Festival

As an aside, Polaris also makes the Victory line up of motorcycles and although I’ve only sat on a couple without actually riding them, I am a big fan of those as well. They seem like great bikes and I am especially fond of the Victory Vegas 8-Ball, Cross Country and the Judge.

Hopefully, Victory Motorcycles will have a demo ride in Greensboro in the near future and we can go ride their models as well.

Update: They did… you can check that out here. Okay, back to Indian.

Since Indian motorcycles have a vintage flair, rich history and helped pioneer what American motorcycling is today, it was pretty cool to get to test ride some of their new 2015 models.

Read on to see some pics of us on the bikes and to find out what we thought of the two Indian Models we rode. I’ve also included a short video of the all new 2015 Indian line up. So be sure to check that out. And to bring it all home, I found a great quote and a cool pic of Brad Pitt riding an old Indian Scout from the movie; ‘‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
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Our Experience at the Indian Demo Ride

Jive Mother Mary
Jive Mother Mary @ The Fat Frogg – Elon, NC

The night prior we were cutting a rug down at a place called The Jugg with a girl named Linda Lue” … okay, not really, but that song is totally stuck in my head today!!!

Actually we were playing pool, drinking a few 1554’s from New Belgium Brewing Co. and listening to Jive Mother Mary at the Fat Frogg…. which is a bar & grill near Elon University campus.

After Midnight, Jive Mother Mary was jammin’ on some ZZ Top covers and their own classic rock inspired originals, when we realized we should probably dip out and head back to the house. We needed get some rest and be in good shape to ride those Indian Motorcycles the following afternoon.

We got there around 11:30am and as we were pulling in we saw about 20 bikes and their riders cruisin’ out to take ’em for a spin. The Indian dealership downtown had about 5 various models and over 20+ bikes from their 2015 line up for us to test ride.
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Cruising around Greensboro on the All New Indian Scout

2015 Black Indian Scout
Cory getting ready to ride the black 2015 Indian Scout

For our first motorcycle ride we decided to go with the Indian Scout. The Scout is based on the iconic namesake of Indian’s original and most popular motorcycle.

Straddling the bike and testing its weight and balance revealed a surprising lightweight and nimble frame. The bike weighs in at 558lbs with a full tank of gas.

This bike would be perfect for someone of a smaller build and stature. I’m about 5’11” with longer legs, so although this would be an awesome bike for zipping around town or back roads… I could see myself getting uncomfortable on longer rides.
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The source of power for the Scout is a 100 horse power V-twin engine with 69 cubic inches of displacement (1100cc)  and 72.2 foot pounds of raw torque. It is a liquid cooled engine with fuel injection and a belt drive… making it highly responsive.
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Red 2015 Indian Scout
Brandon chillin’ on the red 100HP Indian Scout

Being a lighter bike, the Scout had plenty of get up and go. I wish I would have been able to really open up the throttle to test its full acceleration. Still, I did get on it a few times and liked what it had to offer power wise.

I do think my V-Star 1300 has just as much, if not MORE power. Yet, since my bike has a slightly bigger engine that’s to be expected I guess.

My bike does weigh about 200lbs more than the Scout though, so it would be interesting to put them side by side for a drag race showdown!  Or for safety reasons, we could NOT DO THAT and just say we did. haha…

In fact, I’m doing the race in my head right now…. oh niiiiiice…. my V-Star 1300 just dusted the Scout big time!

Okay, back to reality! :mrgreen:
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The reality is that the Scout was a fun bike to be taking out for a spin around town. When I gave it some gas, it would definitely take off… which is always a good thing. The lighter weight and frame of the bike seemed to make it more maneuverable.
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One complaint we both had were the grips. We thought they seemed too small and thin in general. Grips can usually be swapped out easy enough, so that’s not a big deal.

However, I didn’t care for the gaudy radiator up front. Call it a personal preference of mine, I never really cared for the look of a big radiator on a motorcycle. I do like to have a liquid cooled engine though, so it would be nice to see a smaller, more aesthetic looking radiator.

All in all, the 2015 Indian Scout is a fine piece of craftsmanship and the most affordable bike in the Indian line up starting at $10,999. If you’re looking for your first motorcycle, this could be a contender. Although, I recommend taking the MSF Course and practicing on their 250’s first!
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Rolling Down the Streets in Luxury on the Indian Roadmaster

2015 Indian Roadmaster
Here I am enjoying the American Luxury of the Roadmaster

For our second run, we both decided to jump on the biggest, most luxurious touring bike Indian had to offer… the Roadmaster.

Neither Cory, nor I, have done a lot of touring on a motorcycle at this point. The longest ride so far was our trip last year to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This overnight trip took 2+ hours to get there, several hours riding around the parkway and mountains and then 2+ hours to get back. Definitely not cross country or anything.

Still, the road took it’s toll on us, especially since we rode without any wind protection such as a windshield or fairing. If we would have had a touring bike such as the Indian Roadmaster, things would have been a lot more…. comfortable!

The first thing I noticed upon hopping on the Roadmaster was the plush, desert tan leather seats. Not only did they look really nice, they were also soft and cushiony on the ol’ buttox. Both the driver and the passenger seats felt comfortable enough to withstand some serious mileage.

When I went to fire this bad boy up, I was a little confused because I couldn’t find a key to turn it on. One of the Indian reps standing nearby pointed out that it had a secure keyless ignition system and all I had to do was press that button. I did and the Roadmaster fired right up! Sweet!
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Powering this beast is the Thunder Stroke 111. The Thunder Stroke 111 is an 1800cc V-Twin engine that delivers an incredible 119 ft-lbs of torque and features styling that pays tribute to legendary Indian Motorcycle engines of the past.
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It had no problem keeping up with the Indian Scout, as I followed behind a few of them on this smooth second ride. For a bike weighing in at over 900lbs it was surprisingly easy to balance and control.

The Roadmaster has plenty of features such as a radio, electronically adjustable windshield, heated grips and seats and an ample amount of storage space to hold and secure your gear and luggage.

Neither of us had any complaints about the Roadmaster’s feel and functionality. The only thing for me is that I don’t particularly like how it looks.

The Indian Roadmaster’s starting price is around $26,999. If I was going to drop that kind of cash I would want to ride the Victory Cross Country Tour, Harley Davidson Electra Glide and the new Honda Goldwing before making any commitment to the Roadmaster.

Personally, I love the sleek modern style of the Victory Cross Country over the vintage-inspired vogue of the Roadmaster. But hey, that’s just me and everyone has their own tastes in motorcycles! 🙂
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2015 Indian Roadmaster
Cory captivating the very essence of the Indian Roadmaster

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The All New 2015 Indian Motorcycle Line-up

During the demo ride we only rode two of the five models Indian has to offer. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and we definitely enjoyed the hospitality and chance to test ride these bikes. If you have an Indian dealership nearby, look them up to see if you can participate in one of these demo rides.

As promised, here is a short video courtesy of Indian Motorcycles.  You’ll get to see their full line-up and learn more of the history and engineering behind the legacy of Indian Motorcycles. Check it out to see these bikes in full cruising spirit out where they belong…. on the American Highways!
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It’s Never Too Late to Be Whoever You Want to Be

To wrap up this post and in the spirit of Unleashing Your Ultimate Potential, I’d like to leave you with this inspirational quote taken from the movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

In this film there’s a short scene where Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button) finds an Indian Scout and takes it out for a joy ride. This is the same Indian Scout from the 1920’s that is pictured at the beginning of this blog post.
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Indian Scout
Brad Pitt riding an Indian Scout

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing.

We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you.

I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – Benjamin Button

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Hope you enjoyed this review of our experience and learned a little something about American First Motorcycle Company in the process. Thanks for reading!

Unleash Your Ultimate Potential,

Brandon Cook

Do Some Cool, Epic Shit with Your Life!

“All of us have been dying, hour by hour, since the moment we were born. Realizing this, let all things be placed in their proper perspective. . . Remember, it is always later than you think.”
– Og Mandino

So there I was car surfing on my friends sweet maroon, Toyota Camry when it became imminently clear that I was about to wipe the eff out!!! Okay, hold up! Let me back up a minute… it was Friday night and like most Friday nights back in the day, the four of us were starting the night out by “shoulder tapping!” This, if you don’t know, is getting someone to buy your underage ass some beer before they head into the store.

carsurfing“All of us have been dying, hour by hour, since the moment we were born. Realizing this, let all things be placed in their proper perspective. . . Remember, it is always later than you think.”
– Og Mandino

So there I was car surfing on my friends sweet maroon, Toyota Camry when it became imminently clear that I was about to wipe the eff out!!!

Okay, hold up! Let me back up a minute… it was Friday night and like most Friday nights back in the day, the four of us were starting the night out by “shoulder tapping!”

This, if you don’t know, is getting someone to buy your underage ass some beer before they head into the store. In our case, we were quite the alcoholics back then, so we were at the ABC store scoring a half-gallon of Jim Beam.

Our MO was to buy four 20 oz. bottles of Coke, dump out half or more of the soda and then refill them back up with good ol’ Kentucky Bourbon.

After which we would pound those back like the young drunkards we were.

Such was life in Fayetteville, North Carolina… which many locals simply refer to as “Fayettenam!” It is a military town after all – home to both Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.

Sometime later, we’re driving around the neighborhood and heading to our rendezvous spot a.k.a. “the boat ramp” to meet up with some more friends.

To our surprise, they suddenly pulled up right behind us.

I began hanging out the window upon the realization that it was them. Hey, downing excessive amounts of bourbon in relatively short periods of time will make you do some strange stuff.

That’s when I got THE BRIGHT IDEA“Surf’s up, dude!”

teenwolf

If you’ve ever seen the old movie “Teen Wolf” starring Michael J. Fox, then you know where this is headed. And naturally I blame this movie for everything that ensued that night!  😉

The bad thing was, I’m not Michael J. Fox and I definitely was not as cool as Teen Wolf! Haha… but I digress.

We were only going about thirty-five miles per hour, which doesn’t seem like very fast.

Even so, thirty-five miles per hour is fast enough when you’re standing on top of a moving car and definitely fast enough to get you killed if thrown from said car.

Since I grew up skateboarding, I had the balance (despite my inebriation) to pull it off pretty well. As I remember it, I was kicking some serious car surfing ass!

That was until my friend decided to join in on the fun by climbing out on the roof with me.

Let me put it this way: two drunk idiots on top of a car = not a good thing!

Heck, one sober idiot on top of a moving car is not a good thing! And thus this brings us back to where this post began…

“There I was car surfing on my friends sweet maroon, Toyota Camry when it became imminently clear that I was about to wipe the eff out!!!”

Scene from titanicLuckily for me, I knew that it was coming, as my downed knee slipped closer and closer to the edge of the roof.

I just couldn’t hold my friend up any longer as he stood open armed to the air like it was a scene from the frickin’ Titanic or something.

“I’m the king of the world!” – He might as well have said it! 😛

Unfortunately, his weight and the wind resistance pushing him back into me was more than I could handle and he wasn’t responding to my panicked warning cries!

Finally it was every man for himself and I went into self-preservation mode as we plummeted from the top of the vehicle.

At that moment, I could hear that silly Beach Boys song echoing into the night… ‘Wa, wa, wa, wipeout!’

Again, luckily for me I was wearing a leather biker’s jacket! My friend, on the other hand, was in a thin T-shirt. His new nick name for the next month would appropriately become “Road Rash!”

As I hit the asphalt, my head smacked hard against the road and I tumbled down the street over and over. Finally, coming to a stop, I got up… walked across the street mumbling and crying and then collapsed to the ground in pain.

Dazed and confused from the head trauma, I asked my friends if I was okay or if they thought I needed to go to the hospital.

In spite of the blood oozing from the chunk of my now missing scalp, they concluded that I’d be alright.

Nice!

It made complete sense at the time, as I was in no mood for spending the rest of the night in the ER. Besides dealing with all that would entail by following that course of action seemed rather unpleasant.

I seriously wish that was the end of the craziness that was that night, but sadly our evening was just beginning!

This little stunt would be followed by a brief encounter with the police, a bloody gas station sink, a parking lot throw down, my friend’s mom as sit in nurse, and concluded with an impromptu church attendance the following morning… to thank the lord for my improbable survival!

I wasn’t always this classy!  🙂

 

The Moral of the Story…

Looking back through the eyes of my now wiser more enlightened self… car surfing was an unnecessary risk that could have led to the early demise of both me and my friend; and for what… a few, short-lived moments of fun.

Car surfing was stupid and irresponsible! Not to mention our infraction of several other laws such as underage drinking, driving and fighting.

“Let me be very clear that in NO WAY do I condone or recommend car surfing… or any of the other insanity that went down that night!”

I used to do some crazy, stupid shit! Even though I’ve personally gotten a lot smarter, I’ve since learned that many kids are still being severely injured and even killed by car surfing every year.

It has actually become a “cool” trend among thrill-seeking teenagers and a serious problem that is on the rise. Some kids even post their stuff on Youtube for their fifteen minutes of fame.

In all honesty, the main reason for telling this story was to get a laugh out of you at my expense! Then segue into a more inspirational and motivational crescendo about being willing to take some risks in life!

Another crucial incentive, however, was to bring some awareness to the dangers of car surfing (if they’re not apparently obvious.)

“If sharing my epic fail can prevent just one young person from getting hurt or killed unnecessarily, then it was more than worth the effort of writing it all down.”

Now I’m not sure how many teenagers are reading this blog, so I leave it up to the reader whether they choose to discuss this topic with any of the cool kids in their lives.

Even though car surfing is fearless… it just isn’t worth the risk, man! Trust me.

 

Now on to the Cool, Epic Shit!

So hopefully I’ve made it clear that car surfing is “crazy, stupid shit” and NOT the type of “cool, epic shit” that I hope to encourage you to partake in with the rest of this article!

I took a risk that day and by chance lived with merely some scrapes, bruises and a big gash in my head (slightly revealing some skull) … and I’d be lying if I didn’t say a funny story to tell about it!

two girls surfing
Now this is my idea of surfing!

I guess I was lucky and at least smart enough to learn my lesson. The only surfing I’ve done since then… has been at the beach!

I don’t necessarily regret it at all, yet if given the chance I’d most assuredly make some smarter choices.

Unquestionably, if my friend or I would have died from the fall, I would be singing a different tune altogether.

“On your death bed, you won’t regret the things that you did… only the things that you didn’t do!”

Now this doesn’t mean throw all caution to the wind or put your life on the line like I did… I’m not encouraging you to risk your life here.

There’s nothing wrong with being bold and living a little dangerously!

As long as you truly understand the consequences of your actions and are willing to accept those risks.

Think skydiving, riding a motorcycle, climbing a mountain, race car driving or any other extreme sport or activity where death is a real possibility!

If you die doing something that you love, who’s to say that’s wrong? Death isn’t to be feared!

“A warrior accepts that death is an inevitable part of being born. He is not foolishly seeking it, yet he is not afraid to die.”

You also have to realize that your death could come at any time. You could be killed driving to work or as in the case of 9/11… simply showing up to work!

Besides, one can take a few intelligent precautions to lower the risk of these activities like getting the proper training, using the appropriate gear and equipment and continuing to develop your skill and proficiency.

I’ve learned that a little common sense goes a long way!

For example, this past summer I took the Basic Riders Course from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation before hopping on my bike and heading out on the highway.

hottie on a bike
Hopefully she’s just posing for this nice pic!

I also wear a full-faced helmet, a leather jacket, gloves, boots and Kevlar-lined riding pants.

Plus, I continue to practice the riding skills I’ve learned on an ongoing basis like scanning, cornering, swerving, quick stops and counter-steering.

Some people may think that’s “uncool”, but I like my skin and definitely don’t want to mess up my tats, son!

This doesn’t mean I’m bullet proof by any means. There’s still the probability that I could be killed riding my motorcycle. However, I’m not hanging it all out there either by riding wheelies down the interstate at 90 mph in shorts and a tank top.

“More specifically doing some cool, epic shit means being willing to take some calculated risks in life, facing your fears and living your life to the fullest… before it’s too late!

What terrifies me more than dying is playing it way too safe and never having really lived at all. Like William Wallace in Braveheart said;

“Every man dies, not every man really lives.”

 

The Life You Were Born to Live

Let me ask you something… person to person, heart to heart, soul to soul!

Are you living the life you were born to live?

Are you doing what you came here to do?

Are you completing your life’s mission and purpose?

Do even know what that is… for you?

Now a lot of people these days will tell you that this universe is one of chance and probability.

They’ll tell you that this is all some cosmic joke… an accident… and that we’re all just here to have our kicks before the whole shit house goes up in flames. Alright!

And if that’s what they want to believe… well, then they are… all right! In the end, it’s our beliefs that shape our experience of reality.

They’re seeing things through the doors of their own perception!

Jim MorrisonNothing against Jim… truth be told, I love The Door’s music and he expressed himself in a way that many of us are too afraid to do…

He called us all a bunch of slaves, trading our hours for a handful of dimes!

He became a legend and The Door’s music has inspired, entertained and impacted millions of people. Yet, when the music’s over he paid the ultimate price by not facing up to his demons!

We all have them and if we’re not careful they will take us down a dark, destructive path.

It doesn’t have to be that way or maybe it does… though I’ll tell you this… each of us makes our own choices in life! We choose what to believe, the actions we take and how we spend our time moment to moment.

The catch22 is we either choose this consciously or unconsciously.

“I choose to believe we manifested into this physical form to discover something, experience something, create something, change something, be something, and do something EPIC with our lives.”

What that epic something is… is up to you to figure out!

I propose that as an Awakened Warrior it should be something that’s going to benefit society and further our evolution of consciousness!

Why waste away in a cubicle, drinking cheap beer or watching mind-numbing TV day-in and day-out?

Nothing fundamentally wrong with any of those things… yet, I wouldn’t actually call them living epically!

When I look around, I see millions of people playing it too damn safe in life; unwilling to take any risks. Entire generations of sleepwalkers spending their whole lives seeking security above actually living an exciting, adventure of a life!

As Helen Keller reminds us, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

“We weren’t born on this planet to seek security, which is mostly an illusion anyway. We were born to live, laugh, love, grow, and evolve! Maybe that’s cliché… but WTF it’s true!”

And here’s the real kicker… despite my best efforts, somehow I had become one of them!

I never intended to become this corporate financial guy, stuck in an office all day, entering data into a computer and processing mutual fund trades for a living.

It’s not that I hate my job… this is the best job I’ve ever had! I’m very grateful for it and I have it pretty good too!

I work for a great company who treats their employees like a family and are very generous.

I owe a lot my current success to this firm and appreciate everything that they’ve done for me. We’re an impressive group of people who have come together as a team and are providing a valuable service to their clients and community.

In fact, I could work for this company my entire life and become even more successful in the process. So what the deal then?

The real issue, however, is that I am a creative, artistic person!

I feel most alive when I’m creating and expressing myself through music, writing, philosophy and ‘the art of expressing the human body’ through physical training and martial arts.

That’s what I feel called to do! That’s where my passions and my soul taunt me, beckon me and plead to be expressed.

Brandon on Stage
Performing on stage in 2002

Although I never really knew how to combine all of these things into an occupation where I could financially support myself.

I’ve tried and failed at my past attempts to do this and had to make a living somehow… The rock star thing sort of fell through the cracks, yo!

And so I find myself working for this awesome company, being successful and yet feeling unfulfilled at a deeper level of my being.

I fully accept where I am on my journey and realize there are lessons I’ve yet to learn.

I’m sure there’s thousands, if not millions of people out there who can relate to this and I know that I’m not alone.

One thing that differentiates me however, is that I’ve never given up!

I still sing, play my guitar and write songs, I still philosophize, I still train my body, mind and spirit and I’m obviously still writing as I type these words to you.

That’s why we’ve created this blog.

I believe this is the best medium through which I can create and express myself in a way that adds value back to society. It’s a way that I can share the hard lessons I’ve learned in the past and the ones I’ve yet to learn.

It’s a way to make a difference in the lives of other people!

It’s our way of doing something EPIC with our lives!

We have high hopes for this blog. We’ll do our best to create something that will benefit YOU and provide the method and means by which you can realize your ultimate potential in life.

We don’t want this for ourselves alone, We want this for you and anyone reading these words.

There are no limits, except for those we impose upon ourselves.

There are no constraints, except the shackles of our own fears, doubts and insecurities.

No matter what your current situation, no matter where you find yourself right now… you can continue to grow, evolve and live the life you were born to live!

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
– Eckhart Tolle

You’ve come to this site because you want to learn how to Unleash the Power of Your Ultimate Potential! There’s something deep within the hidden recesses of your own consciousness that is calling you to live at a higher capacity then you may be currently living.

It’s that same something that has inspired my brother and I to pour our hearts into this website. It’s that same something that inspires all of us to make our dreams a reality.

I don’t know what that is for you, but you do!

Maybe you can’t express it consciously yet, although it will become clear in time as you continue to follow your life’s journey and the Path of the Awakened Warriors.

You have the power to be, do and have anything you want in life!

You just need the courage, determination and strength to follow your heart’s calling and the wisdom, detachment and tranquility to embrace where you are now in it’s unfolding.

If we’re going to do some cool, epic shit with our lives… we can’t wait for it to happen, we have to make it happen.

Each of us has to begin somewhere and this moment is all that we’ll ever have!

 

The End… or Just the Beginning?

I know that this has been a long post and if you’ve made it all the way to the end, than I truly want to thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it’s inspired you, at least in some way, to live your dream and do something epic with your life!

“Our world is at a volatile place right now and we need everybody to step up and make a difference in whatever way they feel compelled.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comment section below, so please feel free to leave us a comment.

As a bonus for making it to the end, I’d like to share an original song my brother and I wrote entitled “Ghosts in a Flame.”

You’re going to love my brother’s solo on this one!

Check it out and feel free to add it to your playlist.

Hope you enjoy it,

Brandon

To download the mp3 file, click play and then right-click on “download mp3”, select “save link as” and choose where you want to save it.

[mp3-jplayer tracks=”Ghosts In A Flame@ghostinaflame.mp3″ dload=”y”]

Ghosts in a Flame

In essence, we walk like ghosts in a flame,
Like a face that I can’t recall.
Forever we are, forever we were,
All those things that they say we are.

Enlighten the way, through tears of deceit,
And remember just who we are.
And never succumb to the hate they may bring…
Don’t need that shit no more.

You know why? You know why!