The Pondering Coconut

I think its time to run my 1st Marathon

By June 14, 2016 Fitness, Health and Wellness
Marathon

For whatever reason I’ve been putting off doing my 1st marathon, and it’s not because I lack the fitness or drive to do it.

So today I decided to commit to running my first marathon. I have plenty of time to prepare, 19 weeks as of today. I’ll use this week to research the essentials: training plan; nutrition; work & family timetable to keep the balance; and some gear.

I don’t want to over analyse it, just do what I have to do and enjoy the journey. I’ll keep a training log and post updates on here.

Let the fun commence!!

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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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Homegrown Homemade Feijoa Icecream

By May 29, 2016 Food

Homegrown Homemade Feijoa goodness. Planted the Feijoa trees as a kid, 30+ years later my children are still enjoying their bounty. They whipped us up some Sunday night Icecream delights, the first time we’ve made Feijoa ice cream from these goodies 👌 Blissful Balance.

 

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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When did I become so afraid? – Lauras “Maidentrip”

By May 18, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
Laura Dekker

Watched the “Maidentrip” last night, WOW😮!!

On 21st of August 2010, New Zealand born, Dutch Sailor, Laura Dekker set out on a record-breaking attempt to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly. After 2 years of sailing, she completed the journey around the globe on the 21st of January 2012, at the age of 16.

That’s right she set out on her 2-year journey at the age of 14!! What the hell was I doing at that age? At that age,  I considered a solo train trip to Wellington City and back to Porirua a huge achievement!

Laura’s journey had my head full of questions and heart pounding with amazement. What a big call to make as a father to send your 14-year-old girl out into the world all alone for 2 years. As a father, I thought to myself of all the perils that my children may encounter and that terrified me!!

Laura and her parents encountered a fair bit of controversy with certain government agencies objecting to the record breaking attempt, bringing up the issue of to what degree government has a right to intervene when minors engage in risky behavior that is parentally supported. “Everyone was suddenly telling me it was crazy and impossible. My parents were given a really hard time. People called them bad parents. People said they should be put in jail, that they shouldn’t have been able to have kids at all”. 

For me to support such an adventure would be for me to be happy with what I have instilled in my children. If I believed that I had equipped my children with the ability to circumnavigate the globe and all the perils entailed, I would also send them out into the world if they displayed the same tenacity as this young adventurer.  Although it sounds that I speak with a certain amount of confidence with regards to sending my children out into the big world, emotionally I know it would be very difficult for me to come to the same conclusion that Laura’s parents arrived at.

I cast my mind back to a 14-year-old me and can remember being a lot more fearless back then than I am today, What happened, why have I become so cautious? As we get older we seem to learn and become more fearful. Sure I’ve had some of the risky decisions I made in my youth come back to bite me on occasion, but have I been so beaten up by these experiences that I have become afraid to follow my passion? I think my 14-year-old self would be a lot more terrified of the choice that a 30 something-year-old me has made today by choosing the predictable grown up path of Marriage, Mortage, and a job.

Not only is Lauras voyage a lesson in pursuing your dreams; but a lesson in parenthood. My main objective as a parent is to raise my children to become decent, freethinkers that live up to their potential, and if my children were to display even half the mettle as Laura I would be a very proud father. Well done Dick Dekker and Babs Muller you raised a very special young lady.

I have just ordered Laura’s book “One Girl, One Dream” and I’m looking forward to introducing my children to this inspirational individual.

Check out Laura Dekkers webpage: www.lauradekker.nl and the trailer of “Maidentrip” below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What happened to your passion?

By May 15, 2016 Something to ponder
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I look across my living room and sitting in the corner, like a face you recognise but can’t quite seem to put a name to it, is a well-worn, well-travelled steel-stringed acoustic guitar staring back at me. I flick through the files of my mind to try and figure out how we first met and why it keep’s looking at me as if it knows me?

I walk over, say hello and grasp the fretboard as if shaking hands. A sharp pain shoots through my hands right to the fingertips. Although painful at first it starts to feel familiar and begins to trigger memories of a close friendship we once had. “Right I remember you, your my passion!!”

Anybody know the feeling of when something that used to drive you, made you smile, wake you up and consume the majority of your thoughts for a significant portion of your life…just vanishes? How does this happen?

I come across a fair bit of content online with regards to discovering and exploring new passions. I can understand that certain passions can last for a season before receding and you move on to explore new things like motivational stepping stones. However in my case rediscovering a passion that you let fall by the wayside can spark needed revelation and introspection.  Again how does this happen?

Well, I have realised that as my life has expanded, I have become autonomously occupied with the administration of family, kids sports, work and more work. Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. describes my behaviour adequately as “the habitual mode of constant doing”.

I have mentioned this in a previous post and I think the wisdom of Seneca applies here also: “…no activity can be successfully pursued by an individual who is preoccupied…-since the mind when distracted absorbs nothing deeply, but rejects everything which is, so to speak crammed into it”.

When we do not devote extended periods of time to being in touch with ourselves, we can lose sight of the passions that once exhilarated us and the things that matter most become forgotten.

I recently asked myself if I was to strip away my marriage, family and job what would I be left with? Who would I be? I would be a person who loves music, adventure, knowledge and taking risks.

It was these passions that shaped my personality that led me on to meeting my best friend who became my wife. Our passions connected us and were an important part of our union so it makes no sense that it sits dormant in the corner like a stranger.

Its is also important I think to guard your passion and not let anybody take them away from you. Be careful who you share it with. I let a number of insignificant people and opinions change the way I felt about certain things. Not anymore!

Tonight we introduce “Karina” to the family and a host of other forgotten passions that made us who we were.

There is an old Cook Islands proverb that I believe speaks well to this:

“Moupiri tikai ta’au i rauka, auraka ta’au korona kia riro i te ta’i ke – Hold fast to the things you treasure/your passions and let nobody take them from you”.

 

 

Background Music: “Passion” by Trinity Roots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What worked then still works now

By May 12, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
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It amazes me that with all the so-called progress that we have made as a species that we today easily forget the knowledge and wisdom that has proceeded us. Or quite possibly that this wisdom and knowledge opposed certain agendas along the way and was substituted for more agreeable alternatives?

However, the point I would like to make today is that when you realize thousand’s of years ago people encountered the same issues in life that we face today. Solutions that were discovered then still apply now, so let’s tap into it.

I remember reading “The Republic of Plato” for the first time and realizing that what I was looking at was written well before the doctrine that I was told in my youth proceeded all…hey my universe back then was as big as New Zealand and whatever else resided on my parents bookshelf…don’t judge me!

Anyways it was a defining moment that still leads me on many journeys into exploring our human history and imparticular the great thinkers of old such as Socrates; Aristotle; and Plato.

Below is a small excerpt from the”The Republic of Plato” that actually challenged and changed a fundamental belief that was instilled in me as a child “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. Let just say many a rod was not spared on me and fortunately for my children, I came across Plato sooner rather than later:

[Socrates]“Do horses that have been harmed become better or worse?” [Polemarchus]“Worse.”

[Socrates]“With respect to the virtue of dogs or to that of horses?’ [Polemarchus]” With respect to that of horses.”

[Socrates]“And when dogs are harmed, do they become worse with respect to the virtue of dogs and not to that of horses?” [Polemarchus]“Certainly.”

[Socrates]“Should we not assert the same of human beings, my comrade that when they are harmed, they become worse with respect to human virtue?” [Polemarchus]“Most certainly.”

[Socrates]“But isn’t justice human virtue?” [Polemarchus] “That’s also necessary.”

[Socrates]“Then, my friend, human beings who have been harmed necessarily become more unjust.” [Polemarchus]“It seems so.”

[Socrates]“Well, are musicians able to make men unmusical by music?” [Polemarchus] “impossible.”

[Socrates]“Are men skilled in horsemanship able to make men incompetent riders by horsemanship?” [Polemarchus] “That can’t be.”

[Socrates]“But are just men able to make others unjust by justice, of all things? Or, in sum, are good men able to make other men bad by virtue of justice?” [Polemarchus]“impossible”

[Socrates]“For I suppose that cooling is not the work of heat, but of its opposite.” [Polemarchus]“Yes.”

[Socrates]“Nor wetting the work of dryness but of its opposite.” [Polemarchus]“Certainly.”

[Socrates]“Nor is harming, in fact, the work of the good but of its opposite.” [Polemarchus]“It looks like it.”

[Socrates]“And it’s the just man who is good?”  [Polemarchus]“Certainly.”

[Socrates]“Then it is not the work of the just man to harm either a friend or anyone else, Polemarchus, but of his opposite, the unjust man.”

Rather than excepting and following what others say is right, choose to exercise an objective perspective and your mind’s ability to come to a logical conclusion. We can learn from the past and minds of old, outside of our little silos and smart devices, so open your mind and look for yourself.

“So I’m learning to question everything…and haven’t been misled by the authority of a Great Name having said it was true” Beatrice Tinsley

 

 

 

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A strong body requires a strong mind

By May 11, 2016 Fitness, Health and Wellness

Working out and eating right I can do. I am also a firm believer in working out the mind as much as the body. However, I must admit that although I have been consistent with the exercise and nutritional side of things the latter has been sporadic as of late. I mean I still read, listen to podcasts, blog and meditate, but it’s lacking a bit of order. It’s not absent, though like exercise it needs to be reassessed or tweaked here and there.

In my case, I need to go back to the bread and butter, a very beneficial tip received from Tai Lopez’s 67 steps program that I tweaked a little to fit my regimental style of training … a little tip from me, bypass the hate and skepticism you might encounter when looking this bloke up, his s@#$ is good and I don’t receive any dividend for saying so.

Anyways where was I?..right my reading regime: a classic in the morning for 15-30 minutes; Something of heuristical value at midday for 15-30 minutes; and a biography or autobiography before bed for no less than 15minutes. Whilst reading I keep my eye out for anything that provokes or resonates with me; what Tai describes as being a gold miner who for a set time heads out to the river and returns at the end with whatever “nuggets” that may be found. I keep a log of my thoughts with regard to the “nuggets”, and any leads to other material I might want to explore further.

I don’t always start from the beginning I skim through the contents, chapters and see what captures my interest and start there. When I finish the book I place it back amongst my treasured library like a friend that I hope to visit on another occasion…❤️ my book collection. I read across a broad spectrum of genre.

My reading is not restricted to this regime outside of it I read many books from start to finish, but I like that it is a basic foundation which connects with my regimental style of working out…I’m a little robotic like that, as Arnolds Schwarzenegger would say “everything is reps, reps, reps.”

In conclusion, your body requires a strong mind to improve physically, so it is just as important to develop a strong mind. Author George R.R. Martin wrote that “…a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.”

Stay sharp

 

 

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Why you should sleep faster – Arnold’s 5th rule

By May 9, 2016 Recommended Books, Something to ponder
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I must admit that up until I had read Arnie’s autobiography “Total Recall” , I knew nothing of the man who had graced the screen of many of my favourite childhood movies…Hmm lets pause for a second…Arnold Schwarzenegger synonymous with childhood movies?  Well if you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s you’d know that PG meant “Pretty Good” and anything R rated was “Really Good” Let’s just say that Arnie had a lot of “Really Good” movies by today’s standards…but I digress. Arnie the Body Builder and the Actor are familiar stories to most, but less is know of Arnie the entrepreneur, the scholar, the business owner, the real-estate investor or the marketing genius. So if you would like to know more about this Arnie I suggest you grab a copy of his autobiography “Total Recall”  it’s hard to put down!!

Anyways Arnold describes 10 rules of success that have worked for him in his life and are woven throughout his memoirs. All are powerful, but today I would like to focus on one: Rule 5 ” The day has twenty-four hours”.  In his book, Arnold describes a talk he had with a student in a class at the University of California. This student was complaining about the rise in tuition fee’s; how it had caused him to seek financial aid and part-time work. “Whats wrong with that?”  replied Arnold. “I have to Study” the student answered, obviously vexed with the reduced amount of time available to study. Here’s the classic exchange between Arnold and the student; an honest truth he imparts that a younger me could have done well with to deflate the many excuses I had throughout the so-called “bulletproof” years of my youth.

Arnold: lets figure this out . How many hours do you go to class?” Student: “I’ve got two hours one day and three hours another day.” Arnold: “And how much studying do you have to do?” Student: “Well each day, three hours.” Arnold: “Okay . So far I see six hours one day and seven hours the other day, counting your commute. What do you do with the rest of the time?” Student: “What do your mean?” Arnold: “Well the day has twenty-four hours. Have you ever throughout about working more? Maybe even taking more classes? Rather than wasting your life away? Student: “I’m not wasting my life away!” Arnold: ” Yes, you are. You’re talking about six hours a day. The day is twenty-four hours, so you have eighteen hours left. Maybe you need six hours for sleeping. So if your part-time job takes four hours, you still have time for dating and dancing and drinking and going out. Why are you complaining?” 

Arnold trained five hours a day; went to acting classes four hours a day; worked in construction for several hours a day; then went to college, and did his homework also. That was a normal day for him, considering that he arrived in the United States with just a plastic bag of belongings, you will understand the importance of the intangible items he brought with him also. Arnold went on to achieve many things outside of what mainstream media reported, for example, Arnolds first million was not made from movies or body building as one might assume, but from his pursuits as a real estate investor.

So I  considered the Arnie/Student exchange, I reflected on my schedule, realizing then that I had a lot of idle time. I assessed the whole lot: Home and family life; Work life; health and fitness; and the time I dedicated to self-improvement. My time was wasted transitioning from one activity to another. In this time of transition, nothing productive happened and that nothingness sometimes lingered on longer than what was beneficial. As a result, I began to integrate health & fitness and Self-improvement activities into all other aspects of my work and family life. Instead splitting my life into segments I integrated everything where it could fit. Working out at home, before, during and after work and so on. I’ll touch more on integrated living in another post.

The point I want to make here is to ask yourself are you actually doing all you can to achieve what you want? Or are you, like the student, coming up with excuses as to why you are not achieving what you are only paying lip service to? If an immigrant who started out with next to nothing can become Governor of one of the biggest economies in the world WTF is our excuse? “The Day has 24 Hours”.

As a university student lack of sleep was an excuse I blamed for most things, but as in the Arnold/student exchange, I had enough time for leisure. So here I’ll end this blog with an appropriate Arnie-ism:

I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.

Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left


 

 

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Learning to rest can be harder than exercise

By May 8, 2016 Fitness, Health and Wellness, Something to ponder
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Putting the feet up and not training is a hard thing for me to do. I train all year round and have a week and a bit off of training between every 12-14 week cycle. During this rest period, I do enjoy the freedom from my routine, as well as a few little nutritional indulgences here and there. However during this downtime, there is a little voice in my head that keeps telling me to train. So whilst supposedly resting, I do throw in some weight sessions, log a few kilometres of earth-treading and hit out a couple of sessions of boxing. It doesn’t really sound like much of a rest, right? Well as that voice keeps delivering parcels of guilt I do manage to free myself from the clock with which my training cycle seems so closely entwined.

I record every minute of every hour during training cycles making sure that my time is managed efficiently between family and work commitments. Managing my time can seem so rigid during training cycles and the one thing that I do appreciate during rest periods is that room to breathe, even if I still exercise I do not have to be so pedantic. Freedom from the clock!!

Time is often mentioned as being our most important asset, and that’s true for the most part. But I think you can reach a point where you can feel as though your time and workouts are controlling you.  This could be the origin of that little voice that is so used to my training being on cue with the clock? The time passes by and my heart rate has not yet elevated; sweat has not perspired; the pump in the muscles is absent, and my protein based meals just aren’t happening as frequently. “What the f@#$ is going on” my body must be thinking, and it does relay that message via a guilty voice.

As the years have passed by I have learnt to quiet that voice and appreciate it at the same time. I have learnt to give that voice a vacation for its efforts during training “you deserve a rest buddy, I’ll see you in a week or so”  And I listen to it intently when it’s time to refocus, hmm sounding a little schizo right now…😉

 Well, it’s been working for me because today is day 1 of the next cycle of training and the voice I have learnt to embrace is flowing smoothly with my athletic output.

Hmm, you could think that resting for me is harder than working out? I need to remind myself that resting is not the same as quitting. oh well to each there own, but to all, I wish a happy and healthier lifestyle ✊

 

 

 

 

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