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Old 01-16-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
Tirzah Harper
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What's your problem? I think I know. You see it in the mirror every morning: temptation and doubt hip to hip inside your head. You know it's not supposed to be like this. But you drank the Kool-Aid and dressed yourself up in someone else's life.

You're haunted because you remember having something more. With each drag of the razor you ask yourself why you **** your blood into another man's cup. Working at the job he offered, your future is between his thumb and forefinger. And the necessary accessories, the proclamations of success you thought gave you stability provide your boss security. Your debt encourages acquiescence, the heavy mortgage makes you polite.

Aren't you sick of being tempted by an alternative lifestyle, but bound by chains of your own choosing? Of the gnawing doubt that the college graduate, path of least resistance is the right way for you - for ever? Each weekend you prepare for the two weeks each summer when you wake up each day and really ride, or climb; the only imperative being to go to bed tired. When booming thermals shoot you full of juice and your Vario shrieks 7m/sec, you wonder if the lines will pop. The risk pares away life’s trivia. Up there, sucking down the thin cumulus, the earth looks small, the boss even smaller, and you wish it could go on forever. But a wish is all it will ever be.

Because the ground is hard. Monday morning is harsh. You wear the hangover of your weekend rush under a strict and proper suit and tie. You listen to NPR because it's inoffensive, PFC: Politically @#&$* Correct. Where's the counter-cultural righteousness that had you flirting with Bad Religion and the vintage Pistols tape over the weekend? On Monday you eat frozen food and live the homogenized city experience. But Sunday you thought about cutting your hair very short. You wanted a little more volume and wondered how out of place you looked in the Sub Pop Music Store. Flipping through the import section, you didn't recognize any of the bands. KMFDM? It stands for Kill #$$^ @&$*% Depeche Mode. Didn't you know? How could you not?

Tuesday you look at the face in the mirror again. It stares back, accusing. How can you get by on that one weekly dose? How can you be satisfied by the artifice of these experiences? Why should your words mean anything? They aren't learned by heart and written in blood. If you cannot grasp the consciousness-altering experience that real mastery of these disciplines proposes, of what value is your participation? The truth is pointless when it is shallow. Do you have the courage to live with the integrity that stabs deep?

Use the mirror to cut to the heart of things and uncover your true self. Use the razor to cut away what you don't need. The life you want to live has no recipe. Following the recipe got you here in the first place:

Mix one high school diploma with an undergrad degree and a college sweetheart. With a whisk (or a whip) blend two cars, a poorly built house in a cul de sac, and fifty hours a week working for a board that doesn't give a **** about you. Reproduce once. Then again. Place all ingredients in a rut, or a grave. One is a bit longer than the other. Bake thoroughly until the resulting life is set. Rigid. With no way out. Serve and enjoy.

"You see your face reflected there in a sweating brow, you hate what you see, but what can be done when there's no way out, no way out?"
The Chameleons, "Intrigue in Tangiers"

But there is a way out. Live the lifestyle instead of paying lip service to the lifestyle. Live with commitment. With emotional content. Live whatever life you choose honestly. Give up this renaissance man, dilettante bulls*%t of doing a lot of different things (and none of them very well by real standards). Get to the guts of one thing; accept, without casuistry, the responsibility of making a choice. When you live honestly, you can not separate your mind from your body, or your thoughts from your actions.

"If you really want to hurt them and their children not yet born tell them the truth always".
Henry Rollins, from the book See a Grown Man Cry

Tell the truth. First, to yourself. Say it until it hurts. Learn the reality of your own selfishness. Quit living for other people at the expense of your own self, you're not really alive. You live in the land of denial - and they say the view is pretty a long as you remain asleep.

Well it's time to WAKE THE $*% UP!

So do it. Wake up. When you drink the coffee tomorrow, take it black and notice it. Feel the caffeine surge through you. Don't take it for granted. Use it for something. Burn the Grisham books. Sell the bad CDs. Mariah Carey, Dave Mathews and N Sync aren’t part of the soundtrack where you're going.

Cut your hair. Don't worry about the gray. If you're good at what you do, no one cares what you look like. Go to the weight room. Learn the difference between actually working out and what you've been doing. Live for the Iron and the fresh air. Punish your body to perfect your soul. Kick the habit of being nice to everyone you meet. Do they deserve it? Say "no" more often.

Quit posturing at the weekly parties. Your high pulse rate, your 5.12s and quick time on the Slickrock Trail don't mean %*^ to anybody else. These numbers are the measuring sticks of your own progress; show, don't tell. Don’t react to the itch with a scratch. Instead, learn it. Honor the necessity of both the itch and the scratch. But a haircut and a new soundtrack do not a modern man make. As long as you have a safety net you act without commitment. You'll go back to your old habits once you meet a little resistance. You need the samurai's desperateness and his insanity.

Burn the bridge. Nuke the foundation. Back yourself up against a wall. Have an opinion one way or the other, get off the fence and rip it up. Cut yourself off so there is no going back. Once you're committed the truth will come out. You ask about security? What you need is uncertainty. What you need is confusion; something that forces you to reinvent yourself, a whip to drive you harder.

"I never try anything - I just do it. Want to try me?
White Zombie, "Thunder Kiss"

In Dune, Frank Herbert called it "the attitude of the knife,” cut off what’s incomplete and say “now it has finished, for it has ended there.” So finish it, and walk away, forward. Only acts undertaken with commitment have meaning. Only your best effort matters. Life is a Meritocracy, with death as the auditor. Inconsistency, incompetence and lies are all cut short by that final word. Death will change you if you can't change yourself.

“If I can change one, then I can change two. If I can change two, then I can change four. If I can change four, then I can change eight. If I can change eight, then I can change.”
One Minute Silence, "If I Can Change"
This article knocked me down as good as a CF WoD does. And I'm still thinking about it a week later.
Given the reality of living in a mediocre world of kids, life insurance, PTO meetings, mortgage, etc. (all of which seem to be inseparable from kids), how do you see daily application of this outlook? How can one interface with the daily dullness and keep the sharp edge?
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:40 PM   #2
Douglas Chapman
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It is nice to see Mark Twight reads the same things I do.
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:48 PM   #3
Larry Lindenman
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Tirzah, it's all a balancing act. Being a good parent is very important and shouldn't be trivialized. I was a hospital administrator at 23 years old. It sucked and the only thing that got me throught was my martial arts and climbing on the weekends. I SUCKED as a hospital administrator...but it fell in line with my parents expectations of what is SHOULD do. As I closed in on being fired, I reevaluated and applied to become a police officer. 20 years later, I'm a police detective, I have two kids, a wife, a house, and am pretty damn happy (initially I took a pay cut, and dismayed family and friends). I love my job; to me it's a calling, not really a job. Bottom line, do somthing you love, you will be good at it and do well, with no regrets.
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Old 01-16-2006, 04:27 PM   #4
paul arestan
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I studied law at university, worked for the United Nations for years, taught law and economics, wrote for newspapers, made good money, had job security, but I didn't like what I was doing.
When I turned 30, I decided to have a new start. I left Europe, my house, my job, sold all I had and moved to Australia, went back to school and became a guide in all sorts of outdoor stuff, then studied fitness and became a personal trainer.
I am not making as much money as I used to, but I love what I do and that's what's important to me.
Many people around me don't like their job, their life, their relationship, whatever; they feel stuck when there is actually a whole world of opportunities in front of them.
Once you have made big changes in your life once, you know that everything is possible and that you can do it again.
I could do it again tomorrow!
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Old 01-16-2006, 05:48 PM   #5
David Wood
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I'm mildly amused at the apparent discrepancy between the call by Mark to be true to one's own self (indeed, to the point of "selfishness", if that's what it takes to break free of society's expectations), and the (implicit) call to self-sacrifice (breed more babies, darn it, we're at war!) in the links on the main page for the last few days.

Is the contradiction I see real, or only illusory?
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:20 PM   #6
Rafael Mattei
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I think what Mark is saying is, Dont settle for second best, if you are going to do something DO IT, because you care, not because you have to. Its allright to be a 9 to 5 cube dwelling burocrat, if thats your calling then DO IT, and Do It right, dont ***** and complain about if that IS NOT your calling them go find that which makes you whole.

I welcome other CFrs to read some more of the articles on the GYM JONES website, I have and there's a wealth of wisdom in them.

Mark, if your reading...I borrowed a quote, and gave credit where its due
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:04 PM   #7
Andrew Brown
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Coach and MFT are two different people. Two different websites.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:22 PM   #8
David Wood
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Andrew, I know that. I've been in the same room with both of them at the same time, so I know that they're different.

Just intrigued, and wondering if there was a synthesis between (what appears to me) to be two somewhat contradictory worldviews.

Rafael, I like your observation. As a cubicle-dweller myself, I can appreciate the call to do what you do (whatever that is) with everything you've got.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:37 PM   #9
mark twight
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What a pleasure to read your distillation of that essay. Thank you.

Tirzah, SHAME ON YOU for copying and pasting my copyrighted material into this forum without my permission. Clearly you didn't scroll down far enough to read the Warning. Do so now and respond.

Mark T.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:08 PM   #10
Andrew Brown
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I wasn't being sarcastic, and I assumed you'd met them...I meant that there's no inherent contradiction in two people of similar fitness philosophy holding what could be different personal philosophical views (though with Coach's avowed libertarianism, I doubt it's that far off of the Philosophy essay). I also don't think that arguing that in the absence of X behavior, Y will happen is a demand to relinquish personal control...If, after reading the article, you believe X is a good thing to do, then it's not a sacrifice- you're doing it because you don't want Y. That's no more a loss of free will than spending money to get something you want.
(variables used to avoid eventual descent into eugenics/abortion/etc hijacking)

By the way- I check Gym Jones about 5 times a week hoping for a new essay. Love that stuff.
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