At my core, no matter how many trips I take into the mountains to meditate; sessions in the sensory deprivation tank; or calming breaths in yoga class I take, there is a fire in my belly impossible to douse. During this year progressing to other more intense forms of introspection (getting a membership at a float spa) to drill down to the root the narratives I’ve been following, and how my beliefs, some consciously, most unconsciously led me to where I am. But, the hope and intention are to rewrite pages of the script that has been running for years. Now, you may ask what does scripts and float tanks have to do with fire. As I write these words I am becoming aware that it all has to do with recognizing my own nature and how that shows up to the world. In answer
In short, this is about forgetting, trying many things to recapture a feeling that I was asleep to for a long time. Undoubtedly I can say I have a pleasant life and spent the last several years under that impression. Creature comforts and even an agreeable personal philosophy that sort of keeps to my stoic roots. However, there was a moment that looking back we can see how sticking to a middle path started replacing gut decisions with more careful and deliberate ones, considering all parties involved shifted my reputation as a responsible and knowledgeable teacher; which eventually shifted my temperament and even the nicknames changed. Now, names are powerful things. I’m not just saying that because Kvothe and Dale Carnegie also said that, but because they are. They shape us and give an implicit queue to how the world sees us, and more subtly how we see ourselves.
The example I will use is my own name, and the aliases friends have come to call me. The real best example is the names used by Professional Wrestlers, Athletes, and Celebrities. I will avoid that because I’m in an introspective mood and would encourage looking at one’s own name if you haven’t enough.
For most of my life I’ve answer to Achilles often as my own name, quick & clever and so outwardly stoic the word abrasive, sometimes arrogant, was used to describe Achilles, me. In my formative years I wonder if the name encouraged my bold action or because I was relentless towards my goals, maybe the easiest truth was people fresh off watching the movie Troy just saw it was just like my name. while other people filled in their own impression of the meaning over the years. With wisdom, I can now see how grizzled instructors who were not apart of the naming party who put a lot of work in keeping me hungry and always under the impression any feat I accomplished was only mundane. inadvertently shaping how to show up as an invincible force.
Somewhere along the way as an adult the chip on my shoulder fell off. Forgetting what it felt like to be the challenger. Somewhere along the way I went from student, to assistant instructor, to coach of my own small classes had muted my spit-fire nature and started adopting the politely apathetic smile that my teachers used. Waking up years later to how boring its been! Yes there are many small joys from teaching and training and fostering a spirit of continuous improvement. But, these last few years have been like asking Fire to be like Water or Wood to be still as Steel.
Something I value deeply! The eternal goal is to find balance and unrealized strength in the process. But, somewhere I confused tranquility and contemplation for balance. My assumption is because those were so unnatural to my instincts. Like Fire acting on instincts and learn with my body is where I am truly in flow, have a debrief/postmortem during my recovery. Just that approach doesn’t serve a crop of hellions you’re coaching over here in the states. But now that I see my oldest students graduating and entering into the fields of Biomechanics and Physiology; I don’t want any of them to have to believe consciously or unconsciously they have to be a copy of a copy of me that is mostly an amalgamation of the coaches I’ve learned from. Because most of my students are all talented, fast thinking with a fiery nature. Currently they already see, at least when they drop in to train with me they feel compelled to explain a new insight they are excited about in a fairly muted and well professorily way, if you catch my meaning. Granted, I did the same coming up to impress my professors and since it was praised fire performed like water. And didn’t notice I would come alive except when wild free form conversations where threads would get connected of pop culture references, novels friends and peers of mine were reading, and how it connected to eccentric movements or energy systems.
Recently I finally given in and decided to scratch the itch to have more open discussions and be okay with saying “I Don’t Know”, and getting to a reasonable conclusion through discourse or with the 200 IQ play of Fire(hyper active spazz) in doing. I assume the thought process is ‘becoming a student again’. But I can report that say taking a couple hours an hour out of the day to show up to CrossFit or go rock climbing to explore and move my body to do something that I am not sure whether I can do it or not. The only thing at the end of it was finding that I was spending more time thinking how does each lift looks when playing the role of trainer and font of knowledge. But, when giving myself the permission that my only requirement for the day is just showing up and take as much time as it takes to complete the game at hand.
My endurance is not the same and I am much stronger since, but after a few months of inserting training as a student and member of a group had transported me back to feeling young again. Not feeling the effects of decision fatigue as much even if my life is still just as fast-paced. Just moving more makes going for a jog on a day off instead of feeling like I should be doing some form of business development. Going to Happy Hour and Game Night isn’t the routine that is winning out as a way to socialize with friends.
The idea that is coming to me is many of my friends are very heady intellectuals who do enjoy conversations in smokey pubs while figuring out how to improve employee morale, a process or speculate on the nature of things. Those are the things I love and tackle on and off the clock, but somewhere along the way because the people I spend the majority of my time around were less physical Happy Hours won out more than walking meetings or just throwing a ball. I need both to refuel my well. My balance is living in two extremes. Pursuing understanding the world but also acting in it. It’s been seven years and a lot of detours but I think I am back on the path I need(want) to be on.
The hard part was understanding, people aren’t going to understand that and it’s okay that my next 5, 10, 50 years are broad strokes towards being what I understand being the best version of myself looks like, not a concise 10 page business plan with vision statement.