The Pondering Coconut
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Something to ponder

Moving from Hope to Reality

By May 25, 2017 Something to ponder

I’ve been running so much that at times during a conversation I can mistakenly add the word’s: running, marathons or long-runs unconsciously and out of context to a sentence; to which my wife usually replies “your not even here are you?!..”  

I truly am present, however the cogs in my mind are continually moving to make this running lifestyle a 24/7 reality for my family and I. Its been just under a year since I started training for and running marathons that only until recently have I started to think about the financial requirements needed to fund this lifestyle moving forward. Reflecting on the costs involved from running kit, entry fees, travel, food and accommodation it sure does add up, but the tangible and intangible gains both personally and as family are things I now refuse to compromise on. Previously  money in the bank, cars, clothes and a big house were what I used to classify as the hallmarks of success and happiness.

Certain things are in motion and much like a marathon with each stride the distance to the finish line diminishes, moving your initial race goals from hope to reality. I’m not quite sure how far I am from this particular finish line, but I am starting to feel myself transitioning from hope to reality, Watch this space!!

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I know my WHY!!

By April 7, 2017 Fitness, Health and Wellness, Something to ponder

What is the point of getting up in the morning, driving to work, staring at your computer screen for 8 hours, driving home, spending only a few moments with your family, going to bed and waking up in the morning to do it all over again?

Just over a year ago my 6 year old son called me into his room one night and asked me a question that caused me to examine my situation at the time, with a serious demeanor he took a deep breath and asked “Dad can we travel the world? I want our family to travel the world together, I want to see the world!!”.  Surprised at his question and sincerity I replied reluctantly, “Yes son we are going to see the world as a family, that’s why Mum and Dad are working hard to make that happen”. All the while thinking of how the f@#$ I was going to pull this off?!

 At the time baby number 4 was due to arrive and I had previously come to the conclusion that the 9 to 5 rat race life; the pursuit of things; paying bills and being a mindless drone on autopilot was not for me. Now with my son having shared his desire with me it only added extra fuel to the fire, but still the question of how? haunted me.

I did not want to sell my soul to a ponzi or a get rich quick scheme and whatever the vehicle was I felt that it had to be connected to what was important to me. I learnt a useful concept called finding your Eulerian Destiny from investor, entrepreneur and author Tai Lopez. You’ve probable encountered one of Tai’s many ads online or heard his Ted talk; Why I read a book a day (and why you should too); the law of 33%. The concept is derived from a eulerian graph/Venn diagram where four circles intersect with each other:4 Circles

Each circle is populated with experiences that coincides with the following categories:  1.What did you grow up around?;  2. Stranger feedback (what do strangers say about you);  3. What have you been doing for work in the past 5 or 10 years?: and lastly  4. What can you talk about effortlessly/what fascinates you?  The common denominators should appear in all four circles giving you a clearer picture of what your purpose or destiny may be.

Over a period of days the exercise got me looking far back into my past moving from conversions, interactions and experiences that I could recall right up to the present. Common traits, skills and accomplishments began to connect. At the center, to my surprise was the skill and passion I had for running?!

Hmm ok…” I didn’t know how running was going to get my family and I around the world  but I thought, ” ahh f@#$ it, there’s obviously something to this running thing and I love it!!” 

So fast forward a year and a bit to now, my wife and I have lost a significant amount of kilograms between us and run in a few full & half Marathons and a 10km around the North Island of New Zealand with more on the horizon. If I were to include the GPS training logs from my Tomtom Spark Watch and wife’s android phone I don’t think there would be one path or trail that we haven’t crossed in our region, but I suspect there is more out there to be discovered.  We have also completed multiple 5km Parkruns at our beloved Bothemly Park in Porirua and at times done so with our 4 reluctant children in tow.

We still haven’t made it around the world just yet but we will get there when the time is right.  At the moment my family and I are loving what we are doing, seeing the beauty right here in our own backyard of Aoteroa. I no-longer feel like a purposeless, mindless automaton who’s existence was to pay the bills and acquire things!! I have gained a true appreciation for life, enjoying the here and now with an optimistic outlook for my families future.  I have always loved to run and now I run knowing that it is part of the reason I have been put on this earth. I will continue to refine my purpose revisiting the four Eulerian circles from time to time, but at last I know my why!!

 

 

 

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Slow down and Enjoy the View

By March 24, 2017 Something to ponder

I haven’t blogged in a long time but I have an overwhelming desire to put something out there into the Atmosphere 🙏

A couple of weeks ago I ran in the Bayleys New Plymouth Mountain to Surf Marathon. This was my second full marathon and it felt just as special as the first. The race started at the foot of the Majestic Mount Taranaki 🗻on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

Naki

For as long as I can remember I have always been fascinated with the Mountains of the North Island due to the Maori legends in which they are anthropomophized. I drew pictures of Taranaki as a kid, I would tell my children about the legend from time to time, but in my 30 something odd years on this earth I had never visited this awe-inspiring geological wonder, which is just over 4 hours drive from where I live. I know WTF!?

 

Taihapepe

And again last week my wife celebrated her 40th birthday 🎉 by running in the Taihape Half Marathon . It was her first attempt at the distance which saw her traversing unforgiving rural back country roads, which we would never had ventured and would have missed the: picturesque rolling hills; farmlands crossed by meandering streams; deep ravines shadowed by foreboding willows and native bush that looked as though they had witnessed years of human history and more. The tranquility and near absence of  white-noise gave us much needed respite from the suburbanized electronic device totting zombie horde which unfortunately we we’re among.

I felt a sense of guilt reflecting on my previous travels throughout our country when as a kid I was constantly amazed by the diverse landscape and culture of the small towns we’d encounter. Now as an adult I had become a typical automaton with tunnel vision that had become fixated on the destination taking no notice of our beautiful country  – “Wellington to Auckland and back as fast as possible!!” I have realized that this attitude has permeated into many other aspects of my life and needs some rejigging.

Sorry to use the cliche but for me personally I have come to understand that it is as much about the journey as it is about the destination – not the final acquisition but the process.  As of late running has encapsulated this maxim for me, providing much needed introspection and perspective which I would not have been privy to had I not decided to challenge myself and run in various race events and in turn become a regular Parkrun attendee. It is a joy to get to the end of a run/race, but the various stages within that run/race for me I enjoy most. Time slows and a plethora of thoughts enter the mind with many of them directly in conflict with each other:

just stop you don’t have to do this, give up!!”; “your flying give it some more!!”; “those are some nice shoes”; “F@#$ these shoes are killing me”; “How lucky am I to be able to run through this beautiful country, actually to be able to run at all!”; “I would love to run in that part of the world”.

I am probably bouncing all over the place in this blog, but consequently it is much like the decision my wife and I have made to run all over the country and globe with our 4 kids, that’s right 4 kids 😊. We want to show them how to live by living and not to be restricted by financial challenges, age or fear. So we will continue to enjoy the experience, set down the cellphone from time to time and be present.

Kia Manuia

The Pondering Coconut ✊

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Instagram post background music: Aotearoa by Trinity Roots

 

 

 

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By January 29, 2017 Something to ponder

 

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Stop trying to win the conversation!!

By January 13, 2017 Something to ponder

I get nuggets of wisdom from a variety of sources and sometimes there is that particular nugget that resounds within that triggers a feeling of guilt, “oh shit that’s me!“.

Well today’s nugget, as many of them do, came from the “PowerfulJRE” podcast #899 -Bryan Callen. I’m guilty at times of trying to win a conversation, emotion overrides logic and instead of entertaining ideas I start loading my shotgun full of ammunition so that I can fire back in defence with all that my intellect and ego can muster wasting the opportunity to become further enlightened.  This is something that I feel I have gotten better at of over the years but understand that there is more much room for improvement.

So today’s post short and sweet and as Joe Rogan put it “stop trying to win the conversation because it’s a horrible impediment to learning anything“.  *mic drop*

 

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Running on love “My First Marathon”

By November 1, 2016 Fitness, Health and Wellness, Something to ponder

Done and dusted, my first marathon has officially been banked!!

I’ve been quiet on the blog posts with the exception of my Instagram training logs since undertaking training for the 2016 Auckland Marathon. I needed to conserve all the energy I had to persevere through injury, juggling family commitments, work, and Wellingtons unforgiving weather conditions.

I must admit that coming from Wellington my perception of Auckland was somewhat skewed as one tends to focus on its negative aspects such as traffic congestion, crowds, the crazy housing market, and again traffic congestion. But as I took a moment and pulled my mind back from gravitating towards the dark side the treasures began to appear, the beauty of Auckland harbor and its water activities, cafes, beaches, the humming viaduct, the warm weather, the diversity of people and especially its the place my beloved extended family call home.  We perceive what we expect so for me I expect to see the beauty in all things.

I expect that there are many who perceive running events or running in general as a waste of time, a crazy pursuit, an exercise in self-adulation, an otherwise caucasian dominated spectacle.  Well, they can be what you want them to be and you can judge from afar, missing out completely on the triumph of personal achievement, networking with positive people who are physically tearing down personal barriers and my personal favorite appreciating and beholding views that have to be seen from the perspective of a runner. There I find a deep sense of being connected to something much bigger than the human condition.

So the race, if I attempt to describe it all I would miss one detail and every detail to me matters so maybe I won’t try and describe it at all, but I’ll keep it close to my heart as one of the best experience of my life, from the initial thought of doing a marathon to crossing the finish line…oh and barely being able to walk a few days after the excitement subsides.

I set a goal of finishing in 3:30hrs and exceeded my expectations by 25 minutes finishing in 3.05 minutes….I am officially hooked.

This marathon was for my loved ones both past and present, especially my kids and my beautiful wife who are my number 1 supporters and my fuel to succeed.

See you in 2017 Auckland Marathon!!

 

rt20x30-afin2217

 

 

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By September 13, 2016 Something to ponder

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Our interpreted World

By August 3, 2016 Health and Wellness, Something to ponder

 

Albert Einstein stated that “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”. Our perception of reality is formed by information that has been gathered by our five senses: touch, taste, hearing, smell, and sight. You could say that our view of the world is a construct built from sensory stimuli that your brain translates in order for you to make sense of it. In a way, the world as we know it exists only in our minds, as we do not experience it directly. What we are experiencing is our brains’ interpretation of the information collected by our sensors.

So we are not directly experiencing our environment, for example, the sound we hear are our ears response to fluctuations in air pressure with which our brain then interprets and the colors that we see are our eyes detecting the way in which light respond’s to the property of a particular surface of an object. Therefore the sound or color we experience is not inherent to the object but is an effect that the object invokes within our minds, it is a subjective experience, hence “Our sensory experience of the world is a reality we can’t look behind to see what’s really there…” (Bobby Berman – bigthink)

How much more skewed would our perception of the world be then if our health or the delivery systems that transport this sensory information to our brains were in a poor condition? Possibly not the most accurate representation of the environment that we are subjectively able to perceive, like a dirty pair of spectacles that do not receive the appropriate amount of care, the wearer’s ability to navigate obstacles would be somewhat diminished.

I guess the point of this post is to highlight how our health can affect the interpreted experience we have of our world.  If “knowledge is power“, and I’m sure that these words originated far earlier than who Wikipedia attributes ownership  to, then the quality of information with which we derive knowledge from is vital in achieving our personal goals.

I’m currently 5 weeks into training for the Auckland Marathon and have invested in a few training aids i.e, Tomtom Spark GPS WatcTomh, Bluetooth earphones, Nike+ running app etc.  The information that these training aids provide me with enables me to monitor my performance and make the necessary adjustments to my training & nutrition to ensure the best outcome for my efforts. I could train without them but the information these aids give me helps me to clearly  visualize my goal of running my first marathon whilst boosting my self-esteem at the same time.

Why further cloud our experience of the world with sub-optimal health when we are already experiencing the world through an interpreted experience?

 

 

 

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The Wisdom of “The Greatest”

By June 8, 2016 Something to ponder
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Muhammed Ali was an influential figure inside and outside the squared circle. Inside the boxing ring, Ali declared himself to be the “The Greatest” an unorthodox stance to take for an elite athlete at the time but a clever one, as it turned out that more people paid to see him lose rather than win.

Ali was even more polarizing outside of the boxing ring, sharing his opinions on social, political and religious issues which stirred public opinion and outraged many at the time.

It is well documented that a younger Ali shared some radical views, however, it is the words of an older and much wiser Ali whose views changed over time that has made me pause and reflect on my own life:

“The Man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life” – Muhammed Ali.

I often look back at some of the choices I have made in my life, especially in my youth, and lament at how much time I have wasted by drawing a line in the sand and refusing to be moved from my ignorant position of understanding.

I have moved from a life that revolved around sport; I’ve delved in scholastic pursuits; been lost in hedonistic escapades; spent a sizable chunk of time in a religious organisation; spent almost as much time trying to disconnect from that organisation; and have now arrived at a scientific, spiritual, and philosophical understanding of the world. But too often I kick myself for wasting time at each juncture.

However as the world mourns the loss of “The Greatest” I find solace in one of the many pearls that he has left us with.  According to Muhammed, it was not a waste of time as the person tapping away at this keyboard is not the same ignorant 20 something-year-old who knew everything there was to know in this life.

Thank you for your wisdom and your legacy, Rest Easy Champ  👊

 

 

 

 

 

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How I became debt-free

By May 25, 2016 Finance, Something to ponder

Over the years, I had accumulated a large amount of debt and it always felt like a huge weight was around my neck pulling me down… that is right up until yesterday when I became debt free!!🎉

Prior to this personal milestone, I would pay  down debt but build it back up faster than I was making repayments, justifying each purchase, subscription, contract or contribution to whatever initiative, as an investment into a better life. This lasted for 10 years!

I was wrong, the initial amount of happiness that came with each purchase eventually faded away and was overshadowed by the psychological burden of debt that outlasted my so-called investments.

Obviously, what I had done was rebrand my spending behaviour as investing, but there was no financial return from any of it. I tried to convince myself that the emotional return of these purchases was just as valid as a financial one. However, the emotional outcomes soon turned from positive to negative as it became apparent that without any intervention my debt would soon exceed my income. The stress of my financial predicament had a negative impact on my demeanour and my relationships as a father, husband, and friend

Upon that realisation, I  started to seriously buckle down and identify the causes of my spending behaviour. It’s not like I didn’t know, I knew the cause and I was ignoring what my better judgment was signalling out loud for me to avoid. So one day I just started to listen to that inner voice and do.

I have long held onto a goal of becoming financially free to be able to spend more time raising my family and to pursue my personal passions, but my behaviour had been suggesting otherwise. So I asked myself “what do I want more? to be financially free or to be appeased temporarily with the accumulation of tech gadgets, clothing, travel, eating out and careless spending?”

I answered this question and began a quest of lining up my behaviour with the goal of becoming financially free and began pruning undesirable quirks.

I resisted the tech calling me as I browsed about department stores during my lunch breaks. This lunchtime activity was soon replaced by running and reading, an actual investment that cost me nothing financially, but added more to me than any consumer purchase ever had.

Tracking my finances regularly became a beneficial habit and as each debt diminished I felt mentally lighter as well as physically due to the adopted changes.

There is evidence that debt is associated with adverse psychological health and going by my personal experience I can vouch for that, my behaviour towards spending and debt affected my relationships with the people I cared for most.

It’s been a long journey and it has taken me a little over 2 years to be debt-free. When I woke up today that weight that had been around my neck and on my mind for 10 years was no longer there. I finally feel like I have arrived at the starting line, I can now begin.

Although I am still a long way off of achieving financial freedom I am most definitely much closer to achieving that goal today than I have ever been.

 

 

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