Devolve into Chaos

cosmos

My Mom used to always say “close the door because you’ll let the cold in!” Then I took college physics and the professor said something profound. He said “there is no such thing as cold, there is only lack of heat.”

Diffusion – (my definition) movement of molecules from a state of high concentration to low concentration.

When you have people respiring oxygen and carbon dioxide, and numerous gases emanate from furniture, carpet, foods, whatever, you get a fairly high concentration of molecules. Then, add heat (aka energy) so these molecules are continually energized and bounce all around. What happens when you open the door to the less energized and colder outdoors? These bouncing molecules find release. They bounce until reaching their own stasis. If you leave the door open, equilibrium will no longer find a concentration gradient. They will be the same in concentration of molecules and thereby similar in temperature.

Second Law of Thermodynamics – Everything tends toward entropy or disorder.

If you have water in a basin and the vapor pressure is low, eventually those molecules will move from a liquid state to a gaseous state (i.e., they evaporate). If you look at the Grand Canyon, it will never be the same as it once was. You can’t put the sediment that has eroded away back on the steep cliffs. It would never stay. All those tiny grains are somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Everything tends toward disorder. But does it?

Life is the oddity in this process. When I’ve debated these ideas with biochemists and physicists, they always confine the system to validate their reasoning. But when you explain life, how is life even possible? How is it possible to evolve into a higher creature when the 2nd Law says that we tend toward disorder? It seems like we should have devolved into microorganisms and not the other way around.

Neo-Darwinists began to realize that life is truly an oddity of nature. Did you know that science is never fully explained? There is always a Black Box somewhere in the process. Scientists would say that it is the Next Frontier, or some other grandiose statement. But its really something unknown that is yet to be known. Its a theory.

I would call it a Miracle.

The Neo-Darwinists acknowledge this Miracle as some kind of Life Force. Hmmm, a Life Force? That’s not very sciency!

Is the Life Force the Sun? Maybe a divine Universe? Maybe its Chi or some other meta-physical property. It makes me wonder. This is what wakes me in the middle of the night.

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We are real

hannabah_blue_real_life_indian

Its so funny that its not funny.

A colleague at work was raised in Texas and claims to have a small percentage of Native American roots. He worked with Tribes in the Northwest U.S. so he thinks of himself as an expert on Native America. We were talking one day and he said “You don’t look like any Indian I’ve ever seen.” Ha!!! How am I supposed to take that? So what does an Indian look like?

When I was in grad school traveling with lab mates to work on our research plots in the corn fields, one lady said something intriguing. She knew I was Native American. And because she spent some time in New Mexico, she thought she was the world’s leading authority on Native American beliefs. When I would say something that she thought went against what real Indians think, she would say “but doesn’t that go against your beliefs?” It is almost like those who’ve interacted with us can say whatever they want. You don’t know me like you think you do.

Its one thing for a little kid who has only seen Indians on TV or in story books. It is a whole other thing to have an educated adult question your ethnicity.

I appreciate that people appreciate my culture. But have you ever heard of cultural appropriation? It is a form of racism usually based on some level of cultural ignorance. Dream catchers, feather headresses, war paint,…all these things have significance, often sacred and revered to Native American Tribes. Yet someone thinks it looks cool or they want to appear trendy, so they wear something or do something they think honors Indians. Believe me, it doesn’t. It is likely to offend instead.

We are real!

First of all, we ARE real. We have professions just like you do. We drive cars and live in houses. We see the things you promote as being US. We read and write and walk on our own two feet (if we have feet). Do we have problems? Yes! We have diabetes. Many of my relatives have gone blind or have limbs amputated because of it. We have depression and substance abuse. But I wouldn’t say it is different from what you see in the projects, the barrios, the ghettos, the hills, or wherever else you’d call the other side of the tracks. Regardless, we are real.

The biggest shock to you is that Indians aren’t monolithic in thought or culture. There are 535 Federally-recognized Tribes in the United States and many more not recognized. We all have different histories and different stories of our Creation. Our ancestors lived in different houses, had specific beliefs, wore different clothes, and had unique languages. We weren’t all warriors always looking for a fight. Many were and are farmers and fishers. And, yes, we look differently.

Many people say what they do is meant to honor us. They wear a t-shirt or feathers or something else that says “I love Indians”. But instead, they do dishonor. If they thought to pick up a book and read about our history and culture, maybe they’d have a clue. Much more could be done to support us by donating to Diabetes research or Native American Student Scholarships. It would mean SO much more than promoting false stereotypes.

We are real!

You don’t get to decide who we are or how we feel.

This Ole Friend

I walked in the room and it was like his face was in a tunnel. All I could see was his gleaming smile. He smiled and I smiled back. All the others in the room were ghosts. The yoga mats and props riddling my path were passed without a thought. Without thinking, we connected in a manly hug that meant so much. We are the kind of friends that go well beyond shaking hands. He is like a brother to me. He was sorely missed.

Truth be told. We ARE like brothers. While we are connected by yoga and many of its ideals, we are probably socially, politically, and ideologically opposites. But yoga is stronger than all of those -ologies.

We did our 200 hour yoga teacher training together. We’ve laid hands on each other and the dozen or so others in the class as well. We instructed each other and adjusted our positions. We are a band of brothers and sisters. We’ve seen tears, heartache, and deep bonding through our trials. Most of us showed hearts outside of the skin, while others were more guarded. I was probably the latter. It seems the younger you are, the more outspoken you are. Old, wise people like me often sat and pondered quietly.

The past few months, my brother in yoga took a long, many day adventure by bicycle. Having participated in backpacking adventures and ultramarathons myself, I knew of the travails of such escapades. I thought about him and even worried for him at times. It only takes one person texting while driving to end a life. But it was his journey to take and I admire him for it. While I wouldn’t have the courage to do such a thing, I’m thankful for his bravery now that he is safe.

Now that I write this, if someone saw us from afar they’d think we were strangers. But we have this magnetic resonance that can’t be severed. Everybody needs people like this in your life. It is something special.

Swimming Upstream with Diets

bears fishing

Podcasts often make me go introspective to my daily habits. The topic du jour was diets. So here goes. (quick read? — scroll down for tips)

My body type is a mesomorph. Since I was young, I could eat whatever I wanted and still have a six-pack. I was super active and weight was never a problem. However, this also means I never learned how to eat. My grandpa lived to be 89 years old, yet he smoked, drank, and ate very poorly. When we had chili at his house, it came wrapped in butcher paper like a brick of fat. It melted in the pan as you cooked it. A slab of Colby cheese and a sleeve of crackers often accompanied it. And I loved it. I thought I had genes like his, so I could get away with eating poorly.

I think for most of us, our 30’s is when your metabolism starts to go into conservation mode. I was a Senior Army Drill Sergeant at 32 years old when I started to fall back in a run. What the heck? I was a runner and a pretty good one at that. I gained 10 pounds and it wasn’t coming off. Even when I became an ultramarathoner in my 40’s, I pretty much maintained weight and didn’t lose much. But the key that was missing was diet. I still ate like a horse.

Fast forward to years later. My ultramarathon days were starting to come to an end. I began doing CrossFit and made lots of changes in my life. But I didn’t change my diet. Not long before, my wife had her gall bladder removed. So I suppose I was next. After my diagnosis, the doctors were ready to schedule an appointment with the surgeon. I’m like “wait a minute, let’s think about this first”. I mean, I’m a scientist myself. There has to be a better way. I started doing some research and found that gall bladder disease is mostly a side effect of gluttony. It can be connected with a host of other issues from diabetes to gout to liver disease. My research led to a gastroenterologist back in the 1950’s who put together a diet with many names. It was the Diabetes Diet, Alzheimer’s Diet, Parkinson’s Diet, … In effect, they were all autoimmune diseases where autoregulation is halted. Come to find out, it is also the basis for the Paleo Diet.

So despite my mantra of “exercise all you can so you can eat what you want”, I needed to change. I went cold turkey and jumped on the Paleo bandwagon. We stripped the cupboards bare of all processed food, especially flour, pasta, and other starches. The same with sugars. Within two weeks, I was free of the painful heart-attack like symptoms that I suffered from my gall bladder. My blood lipids were completely back to normal and I was losing weight and bodyfat. It was amazing what it did for my life.

Since those days, I’ve moderated my views and overlapped other concepts into my life. I am still mostly Paleo since I pay for it when I go back to the Dark Side. I used to be the bonehead at the party who was vocal about what I “wasn’t” eating and would preach all the facts about the bad foods that were there. I’m more sociable now. I’ll graze on fun foods knowing that I’ll eat clean 98% of the time. During the work week, I’m essentially a Warrior Diet advocate. Here are some ideas that I abide by:

  • Breakfast consists of coffee with a half-teaspoon of creatine and a tablespoon of coconut oil which provides energy and muscle cell hypertrophy. I’m not very hungry anyway in the morning because of what I eat before bed.
  • I skip lunch but may snack on a protein bar, a spoonful of peanut butter, or maybe a protein shake to keep my energy, prevent muscle catabolism, and maintain low insulin levels for fat burning.
  • I usually do Olympic lifting in the morning, yoga over lunch, and a CrossFit WOD with bodybuilding after work. Then I eat dinner.
  • Dinner is the largest meal of the day. Caveman drag food home to cook and eat! I get my daily dose of calories at this time. Although, I’m usually not starving because I haven’t faced insulin spikes from what the FDA and others would recommend with small meals throughout the day. It is balanced with lots of protein, fat, and veggies.
  • Currently, my pre-bedtime ritual is to take Progenex Cocoon. It has amino acids like tryptophan to help you sleep. It also has other proteins that aids muscle building and recovery. I take creatine with this too. Your highest levels of testosterone and other growth hormones occur as you sleep. Your cortisol levels drop and serotonin increases. So you do some fat burning as well as opposed to fat storage. Your fat is being used to make new cells and aid in hormone building (which are made of fats).

So far so good. I still enjoy a few cheats along the way. I’m not perfect. If I get really hungry or if I know I am teaching an intense yoga class or hot yoga, I’ll eat lunch or a snack hours before. I still stick to a mostly Warrior/Paleo styled diet and it seems to work for me. The bonus of not planning breakfast or lunch is I never worry about what I’m going to eat. And I can really enjoy a savory dinner and a nice sleep at night. I also got to keep my gall bladder.

Represent

david

I used to take a yoga class now and then from a teacher who was “real”. I mean, she wasn’t the type of yogi you see on magazine covers. In fact, maybe she didn’t look like what a yoga teacher looks like in your mind’s eye. And she is a great yogi.

It is unfortunate that we have these stereotypes in our minds of how people should be. We should accept people as they are. If they can perform and do their jobs, then that should be enough.

Or is it enough?

I was an Army Infantry Drill Instructor in a previous life. Our duty was to “Lead by Example”. So we put up an image that went far and above what is required of a normal soldier. No wonder the divorce rate is so high among the Drill Sergeant ranks. We spent half of our time grooming, exercising, asking for extra starch on our uniforms at the cleaners, and shining boots to look like mirrors every night. Actually, most of us used two uniforms a day and at least two sets of boots. If we got scuffed or dirty or sweaty, we’d change into a new uniform so we always looked “perfect”. We were toy soldiers who taught people to be like us. And it was impossible for them to keep up. But soldiers looked at us like infallible gods. We were what they were to strive to become. It can’t work any other way.

As a yoga teacher, I represent “yoga”. I represent my studio or gym where I teach. I hope that when people look at me, they’ll think “that’s what yoga can do for me”. They say “Practice what you teach, and teach what you Practice”. I have to live by example. I can’t preach about Ahimsa and then go off honking my horn and yelling at people who drive too slowly. Everything I do hopes to meet that standard. At least that’s what my Inner Drill Sergeant tells me.

I know we need to give ourselves grace. Humility has its merits too. I often share if I’m tired or tweaked a knee or something. When I am a student in a class among my peers, sometimes I’ll take child’s pose or the easier variation of a pose. I am human…maybe more than people know.

But I still strive to be the best yogi I can be. I want to be a shining example of what yoga can do. When people say its just for the stereotypical cover girl, I like to show it can be for beefy, older guys and real people like me. Though it is still important for me to project my brand. In many ways, I’m selling a product. I’m promoting a lifestyle. I feel responsible to my diet, to my svadhyaya (self-study), to my cross-training, and to my yoga practice. Maybe it will inspire others to commit to something special themselves.

Be the best YOU that you can be. It’s always good enough!

Take a Rest Day

bubble-bath

To be honest, I am the worst offender ever. I pack every day with some-thing and if I have a few minutes free, I pack some more. I assume most of us are this way. The most obvious indicator is with my home life. If my girls aren’t happy, then I can’t possibly be happy (wife & two dogs). Even friends complain that I don’t have time for them. So over the past month, I’ve resolved to make changes, even if slowly.

My first step is to take a dedicated rest day. Frankly, its not easy to choose which day that will be. My spiritual side says it is on Sunday; an official Sabbath!! My schedule determines a lot from yoga teaching, training for a CrossFit competition, and getting ready for trail running races. So for now…Sunday it is!

It was AMAZING!!

I really needed a day like that. I’ve been going at it for so long. I didn’t plan anything for the day. Not only was it a physical relief, but it was huge mentally and spiritually. You know what, next Sunday I will have a few more options for myself as well, though I’m not “planning”. Just options. It will be a spa day. I’ll take a hot bubble bath, maybe two! Maybe I’ll go get a tan. Take a walk with my dogs. Perhaps I’ll go fishing. Maybe I’ll get a mani-pedi, since I’ve never done that. It will be a ME day!

Take time for yourself. Everyone will love you for it! Especially YOU!

Toward a safer home

So I recently became involved with the Nextdoor App that is specific to my neighborhood. There is a lot more going on than I could have imagined from loose dogs running around to turtle sandbox tops getting wedged who knows where. What is seriously concerning me is the reports of burglaries. I always called my neighborhood Pleasantville because nothing bad every seemed to happen. It is like Mayberry U.S.A.

First off, I never want to blame the victims

There are bad people in this world. If we had peace, we wouldn’t need to take precautions against predators and micreants.

But,…!!

I am exceedingly curious about the circumstances of the thefts. I am not aware of any crowbars taken to doors or smashing in of windows to gain entry. These have been petty crimes of opportunity. People leave their car doors unlocked and its easy to walk along and check if doors are open. And guess what, for some reason they also leave high value items and, most importantly, garage door openers in their unlocked vehicles. I’m thinking that is not a very smart move. Sometimes, I walk my dogs in the wee morning hours and see many garage doors open, likely overnight. Most of our garages have a side door and people sometimes leave those unlocked too. Its my feeling that if you can get into a garage, you’re going to get into the house. Even if you lock your door from garage into the house. There are tools in garages like crowbars and screwdrivers making it easy to get in without anybody seeing.

Regardless, we know there are bad people out there. But some people are quite frankly stupid. I’m sorry you were too naive to trust the human race. You have to watch out these days.

If you play with fire…

Don’t give them the key to your house and expect not to get burned. If most drunk driving accidents happen between Midnight and 3am, then don’t be out then. If you want to end up with knife wounds to your chest, then go to bars in the middle of the night and pick a fight. If you walk down a dark alley all alone, there is a much higher probability of something bad happening. Its like walking in mountain lion country with deer sausage wrapped around your neck.

People need to get smarter about their awareness and safety. Teach your family and kids how to be safe! And get off cell phones at times when you need to be safe.