So to make up my mind and tell be that I want to fight during the festival to celebrate the end of rainy season here is my pro and con list. I wrote this for Ryan Coelho, a motivational speaker who I met a few years ago. He currently started a podcast called how2life (this is to episode 3) with his friend Jason and I was chatting with him and he told me to make a list so here it is in blog/journal post form.
What I noticed about reading my so called pros was it was less about the physical activities and more about confronting my own psychology. In particular the doubts, confidence and fear issues that I’ve been dealing with are magnified in this type of risky endeavor but as a diabetic I know that a low blood sugar is always a risk, it never goes away and just because it can be managed doesn’t mean it is not there.
All it takes is a moment to cause you to fall. So the physical stuff while important, it is more a mental game of focusing as much as it is the training itself that this list reminds me of. So not sure if these are all pros but it I just went with what I was feeling as I wrote and wanted to be honest about where I am at this point.
- Push my physical limits
- Prove to myself that I can
- Put a year’s training to work
- Learn to use fear instead of being owned by it
- Improve my muay thai
- Get batter at sparring
- Get better conditioned
- End my training by going as far as I can
- Get used to training at a higher leve
- To shore up my weaknesses
- To say I’ve fought instead of I trained
- Show that just because you haven’t doesn’t mean you can’t
- So I can take hits as well as give them
- To understand what it takes to get into the ring
- Train to win not just to compete (not just in this but in life)
- Learn to be more physically and mentally confident
- Don’t back down from the challenge
- To give focus to the training
- Become a better fighter not just in a physical sense but in fighting for your goals through focus, determination and some stubbornness
- Improve my insulin sensitivity by constantly improving my physical health, show that I can be fit as much as the next guy
- To show that my diabetes is not a limitation, it doesn’t have to prevent me from doing anything
- To make the trainers proud, that I was able to take their lessons and apply them in what they’ve done all their lives
- It is not just a battle between me and my opponent, it is a battle against myself of having the courage to stand up to the unknown
- To look back and say I did something I thought was impossible
- To honour everyone that told me you should, you can or who gave me advice on just getting to the answer of whether to fight or now
- Learning to believe you can win, instead of thinking you can’t
- Learn to find the hunger and aggression to push beyond what your body says
- Hear the crowd, be one of the people grabbing their attention instead of being invisible which is how you have felt for a long time
So here is my con list, this is much more dominated by my physical fears that are involved in getting into the ring. This is more short term and it is important to realize. The physical fears are visceral, they carry a primal fear against pain and getting hurt.
There are raw and tangible but affect us more subtly more by making us avoid doing things which can be very good but also stop us from pushing past are self-imposed limitations if only to see that they were never our limits at all, we make the box we live in, crafted by our experiences, doubts and fears.
To do it is to say that for a moment, if only a moment fear did not define who I am. I decided to do it in spite of my fear, I want to say I used my fear to fan the fire instead of using it to run away from the fire.
- The risk of getting more lows
- The cost involved like getting equipment and going down to Chiang Mai
- The risk of minor injuries
- Getting a hit that causes significant damage
- Having to run every day
- The cost of getting hurt since you don’t have insurance
- Of losing and disappointing everything that helped me along the way
- Of not putting on a good show
What if I don’t fight what does it mean?
I don’t have to fight to give my time in Pai at Charn Chai Muay Thai value. It has a lot of value and allowed me to meet and get to know people from around the world. I got a chance to live in a different country and be more than a tourist. It showed me the importance of being fit and healthy and that being tired and exhausted is a good thing.
It has allowed me to begin to change my self-image. I’ve always had problems committing and this has shown me that I can commit to consistent physical health. I’ve never been in better shape than right now. No matter what happens it has made learn what I need to continue to be active. I don’t like the gym itself, at least not at this point I like that I get to learn a physical skill that can be used instead of bodybuilding or exercising for my own personal vanity.
There is nothing wrong with that and it is great to do but being able to focus on an action and learning to coordinate your body to move better and to see the improvements not just through how big you are getting but in having better punches and kicks is much more gratifying than looking in a mirror at least for me.
So I know when I’d want to fight at the end of the rainy season here in Thailand, when they have a big festival in Pai. I feel in my gut that this is when I need to do it if I do it at all. Do I have to do it to give my time here meaning, no but do I need it to push my skill level, physical conditioning and mentality beyond the shade…. I would have to answer that with a yes.
Limit -a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass.
Some people see limitations as boundaries to break past, others see it as prison that they cannot escape. We all have limitations, some physical and the harder ones psychological. They inform us about what we can do and we should see them as challenges to surpass not walls that can’t be climbed.
Are we frozen by the limits we see within ourselves, often they are reinforced by our experiences. Joy is fleeting while pain echoes be it the physical pain or the that which we feel, we remember the bad more than the good because the sting is a shock that is meant to be remembered as a reminder of what not to do.
I don’t believe that you should see everything as possible, at least not in the traditional sense. I think understanding where we stand for good and bad is important and that goes for our limits as well. Going past our physical limits, our psychological limits are of our own creation, formed from what we’ve been told, what we’ve experienced and who we are.
I’ve always seen them as chains but they don’t have to be, they are challenges we can overcome within ourselves. That doesn’t mean we don’t need help or that success will come in a form we expect but that they are not chains but signs of what we can overcome.
Every time you want to give up and even when you do it doesn’t have to be forever, you can always attack the problem, the challenge in a different way, sometimes in a different form. I ran from a prison of my creation full of hate and doubt to find a way to find freedom, to find a sense of self that was and is not mired in limitations only to see that you can’t escape them by running.
You have to find a way to face the fear, the hate and the doubt. If you don’t they will continue to hound you in every whisper to yourself. So how do you confront your limits by countering them. It can be something as simple as focus. For me I’ve been coasting for a while, not progressing because I don’t think I can or that I shouldn’t bother when I can’t win anyway.
Unbound – not confined
I choose to believe that I am not confined to what anyone thinks or believes that I can achieve especially and most importantly myself. It is a choice we make often unconsciously. One thing about being trapped in the dark is you get used to it, which isn’t good. One of the benefits of having to wade yourself within the emptiness is that you are not encumbered by its presence.
You know the feeling so well that you are in some ways numb to its shock, I have to learn to use that, to realize that it doesn’t hurt the same way it would others. That you don’t have to live with it if you choose not to. So as I write this it is a sunny day in paradise, I have the freedom to do what I want like many people will never know.
So when night falls instead of thinking of the emptiness I will choose to believe that I “will be able to” not that I can at this very moment but that I “have the capacity to” make what I would have seen as impossible 2 years ago, that I would have never considered a possibility.
That in it of itself is a huge difference, that is a personal revelation that is a mirror to how different I am now than what I was. It doesn’t matter if what I aim for is a meter away or 10 km away all that matters is that I continue to walk step by step to that goal. One is to continue to craft the story and the other could be or would be to choose a date to face a fear and give it the focus and intensity it deserves so I can give myself the best chance.
No matter what else happens start with an intention in this case to win and go believing you can, faking it if you can’t actually believe and being stubborn enough not to listen to everyone who says you can’t. So don’t give into the lack of belief, every time you feel it come up with a reason that proves you have not succumbed to the doubt.
For me it would be just the fact that I’ve committed the time. Another would be the difference between where I am now from when I started, that I am more than half way there and if I can get this far why can’t I go all the way if I can focus and just take it day by day I can.
I am every scar, every experience, every pain
For be the one that will reach, will push, will believe
I am not defined by my past, I am informed by it
For each possibility see the challenge to achieve not the limits that you can’t surpass
Let go of the hate, the doubt, the pain
Embrace the joy, the possibility, the hope
OK I admit it I’ve watched the MTV show Teen Wolf off and on and I was watching Season 5 Episode 9 titled “Lies of Omission” and there was a scene at the end with Stiles and Scott who are best friends that doesn’t ring true to their friendship. It takes place in the rain after Scott, the leader of their tribe or pack (in wolf speak) confronts his Stiles about his accidental killing of Donovan who had been turned into a chimera and went after Stiles as payback against his Dad for something that happened to Donovan’s father.
Theo a recent addition to the cast tells Scott his own version of what happened. During the scene the dialog dances around the truth. This was setup in earlier episodes with Stiles not telling Scott the truth earlier and of Scott’s proclamation that they shouldn’t kill. The damning part of this entire sequence from a writer’s perspective is that Scott assumes that Theo’s version of what happened (when he wasn’t actually there) is the truth.
During Scott’s confrontation with Stiles, he is never asked to explain what happened. Stiles also never offers his own account of what happened. Instead we get lines like Stiles saying “he was going to kill my dad” and “do you think I had a choice?”. The dialog dances around the what actually happened in a way that I don’t think rings true.
My immediate response is why didn’t Scott ask Stiles to explain what happened himself? Why didn’t Stiles say it was self-defense not that just killed the guy. Would anyone take the word of someone who is closer to a stranger than a friend over their friend themselves. That’s what happens in this scene and it damages Scott’s character because if you take what Scott is saying at his word you’d cannot at least think he is being in the wrong.
Stiles should also have told him what happened but because he is on the receiving end the blame falls on Scott as their pack’s leader. The way it comes across is as artificial conflict versus true conflict that comes naturally from the story. It feels like it is about setup for the next part of the season and not something makes sense given what these 2 characters have been through with each other and what they’ve done for each other.
At the beginning of the episode Scott is doing a voice over that reflects on people being distance and that he has to keep his inhaler on him acts as a symbol of his loss of confidence. I can see that happening but it still doesn’t make the scene with Scott and Stiles ring true without making Scott look stupid since we know that Theo the person that told him is doing it for his own ends.
Even without that knowledge the history Scott and Stiles share should account for more than what is given in the dialog, it feels like a dance where the writers are doing everything they can to manufacture the conflict between these two characters than what would actually happen.
The justification for each of these two characters actions has built for some time, with Stiles not telling Scott out of fear and with Scott saying more than once we should never kill. All it should take is for Scott to listen to Stile’s side of the story and that given their friendship and the source of Scott’s information to clear the air but that doesn’t happen and thus it makes the scene feel forced, it rings untrue and I see it as a setup more than something that would happen.
For Scott it damages his credibility as a character and as a watcher you have to find a way to justify his actions in the context of the story but they feel weak and unearned which makes the scene ring hollow. The problem is that their friendship or more like brotherhood has been strong for so long that it is hard to find something that would cause such a change in their relationship without it feeling forced.
That is a testament to the portal of their friendship and I don’t think that what the writers came up with as conflict between Scott and Stiles feels true in context of what they have been through. This entire arch feels like setup for the mid-season finale and for the second half . It may not last but that doesn’t the Scott comes out of it without looking like a fool and as the main character you should make the reasons feel true and that just doesn’t occur for me with how they approached this story line.
So in Windows 8.1 I loved the ability to save files to the cloud within the OneDrive folder and this is great for a table notebook like I have. Then I upgraded to Windows 10 and everything went mad. Basically I only have a 59 GB C drive and prior to upgrading I had copied over the contents to my E drive including the the smart files and remapped my OneDrive to the new location.
I thought that would be good enough to keep my files safe. After the installation of Windows finished (which took multiple attempts do complete) I found that my cloud storage was screwed up. I remapped the OneDrive folder again and found that no files would sync. Then OneDrive asked what folders to selectively sync and I chose some and all my other files were sent to the recycle bin.
I found that a ton of files had been deleted on the website I imagine these were the smart file placeholders but it was much more than that and I had to go in and try to recover everything since when a file was found in both my cloud and hard drive I was asked to drop the hard drive version instead of just syncing it.
I’ve had to go back multiple times to the OneDrive website to recover files that were deleted and I can’t search the files through the place holder smart files like in Windows 8.1. I can’t afford to sync my entire cloud to my notebook because I just don’t have the space for it.
I get that they want to unify their sync engine but they should have kept the smart files and just added an indicator to show if it was a local file or had to be retrieved online first. Now I have redownload gigs of data, have lost many files and can’t easily search my cloud from my computer without going through a network drive.
I hope they fix it but damn did it fuck my file structure and limit my options for keeping certain files in the cloud. I know I should have multiple cloud save points and I do for certain files but I can’t do it for all of them and it sucks that Microsoft wouldn’t use multiple sync engines until they had unified it under one. Instead they make all of us jump through hoops, finding workarounds to bring back the functionally they lost when they knew a lot of people hated it.
I know they want their system to scale well but I hope they bring the functionality back ASAP because it is a godsend on the modern hybrid devices that we are using now.
As a child we are told that all things are possible, as a teenager we learn that roadblocks are challenges to overcome, as an adult you are told to get real and give up on those dreams, don’t dream big, be realistic not idealistic.
I got to the point where my world shrunk, where the grand ideas I had were never going to happen and as failures mounted and friendships dissolved I found myself wading in a pool of shame and self-doubt that nearly drowned me. I didn’t believe but I put on a good face to pretend that my life was great when it was really a life of no meaning, no connection and no hope.
I would give anything to let go of the emptiness but it becomes who you are after it has enveloped all aspects of your life. Loneliness is a not a stabbing pain it is a dull ache that you feel with every movement.
It doesn’t prevent you from doing anything but you feel it in everything you do and as it worsens it constricts what you are able to do until your full range of action has been reduced to a crawl. I write about it a lot, it forms my way to hold back the flood so I don’t drown.
Travel has taught me about connecting with people but put a mirror to how I keep myself isolated. I stay the wolf at the edge of the pack, always keeps to himself and never fully engages. Who stays active enough so no one takes notice and no one remembers.
You become numb to the emotions, you play your role and keep yourself armored against feeling anything. This means you don’t have friends or relationships.
You live in a world where you don’t matter maybe you never did, where the only memory left of you will be a face in a crowd which will fade just as quickly.
You don’t need sympathy or sorrow you just go on hoping that you can find meaning even if it is only in words that no one reads. It doesn’t matter all that does is that you give them the space to breath and maybe that’s enough.
Our experiences are the lens from which we interpret the world, intelligence gives the ability to question, learn and comprehend and our emotions gives our lives meaning. If you could experience life without feeling then why would anything you do matter? What would motivate you every day? And how would you make decisions? What we feel cannot be disentangled from who we are or what we experience.
Who hasn’t wanted to rip out their heart when they are in pain, who hasn’t wanted to bottle their happiness for darker days? Feelings drive us, motivate us and make what we experiences matter. Can you have rational thought if you couldn’t feel? I often think about how emotions are the double edged sword of who we are and can give us such wondrous highs and such painful lows.
This is me being selfish because I am constantly battling my own emotional baggage that has acted as chains on my soul. I think of my emotional immaturity, what I’ve missed and how I lock the negative emotions away but they don’t really go away instead they erode my ability to connect with other human beings. I write about it here just to have an outlet for thought.
Your feelings don’t define who you are because we are more than any one part of us, so we are more than what we’ve experienced, what we feel or our body. It is how they work together, how they intermingle that makes us who we are and gives us the potential to do good or bad. How does one person decide to help the person in need and how does another walk away.
I need to learn to break free of doubt and be open to connection instead of opting to keep myself separate. Being in Pai for the last year has made me realize I have to confront my demons. I cannot afford to run from my own faults and weaknesses or I might as well put a gun to my head now because this cannot continue if I am to have a life worth anything.
Some people want to change the world, they are able to harness everything they are to bring people into their world… I will probably never get even close to that but I hope in some way I can make a difference to someone out there. I hope I can matter even if I never know to who myself. So how do you give yourself the ability to change? To stop being a prisoner to your emotions and instead use them as fuel to drive your mission and your goals.
I don’t expect anyone will ever read what I write or that anyone will give a damn and I can’t worry about what people may think because I know that writing it and not hiding it in a journal somewhere is the last thing I need to do. Sometimes you need it to be out there even if you know no one will ever care. It was never about that, it was about finding a way even if it is a small way of letting down the walls even when no one will walk through.
Everyone has issues no one is an island but we usually keep it to ourselves. My outlet is to write about it, just to write but that isn’t action it only stems the tide and doesn’t get to the root of my issues. When I am around people I talk a lot because usually when I am at home I have no one to talk to its been that way when I was in Toronto, when I was traveling and it is that way now.
I think too much not to know my faults are what really matters is how I’ve dealt with them and what I am doing to put them behind me so I can move forward without being dragged into the abyss through them. I think in a lot of ways wanting to fight in the muay thai ring is a battle with my fear and a way to forge belief out of the ashes of who I am now. I don’t have confidence and I am going to need a lot of help to get into shape if I fight.
I hate asking, I don’t want to bother anyone but I have no choice. I have to do it my own way because of the time I have left and the resources I have on hand but I have to get past the fear and not let it control me. I have been talking about it forever and talking is worth nothing now it is time to act, it is time to face one of my demons so I can forge a path when I am not defined by my fear.
Emotions are powerful motivators that are a gift and a curse, they are empowering as much as they can be debilitating and to harness them you have to understand them so you can see how they work with your experiences and your mind and body to make you who are for better or worse. Always work for the better, by understanding them you can change them.
I’ve known mine for a long time now I have to deal with fear and confidence. To remove the power of fear and give make it fuel to find the confidence to believe not just that I can get into the ring but that I have value and that I and that we all matter. If I can find a way to believe then it will have been worth the struggle, dealing with your emotional centre makes the physical training for muay thai seem like a walk in the park. So if I can do one then I can do the other and so can all of us as we face own demons in the dark.
Pai, as the sun sets in the Valley
After taking a long road,whose only consistency is the sheer number of deft turns that are so numerous that you lose count of them within minutes you have no idea where you are going. At every turn you can see the forest and hills that surround the region and seem to go on and on and on. As I sat in the minivan with other tourists from around the world all I could think is when was this place first settled. Who was the first to realize that you can never conquer the mountain, you have to live with it, nature could never be tamed only managed.
When the van finally stopped turning and turning and then the turn in the road gave way to a descent, with a gentle angle going down, now you could see the land calm as it the waves of hills eroded in a lush valley. You always felt the hills, they surrounded this valley, it was farmland in the shade of the hills and although you would want to see the sun there was something about seeing the clouds meet the mountains and hills that made this valley feel like it had touched the heavens.
As our green minivan passed the World War II bridge all I could think about was the history that happened before modern times. When invaders from one of the many Burmese Empires came from their side of the hill country came in their vain attempts to conquer the walled fortress that was the heart of Chiang Mai, the new capital of the Lanna Empire after Chaing Rai had ceased in that role in 1296.
What was wandering into the jungles of the mountains like back then, when what would take just a few hours take days to transverse. When you are fighting the stench of disease, looking for sources of water and sustenance does the beauty make a different or was did they consider it to be a viper wrapped in velvet waiting to kill those who take decide they don’t have to be humble in front of the hills.
The hills of Northern Thailand may not have the sheer vertical presence of true mountains but they are to be respected for what they offer in life from fertile soil and an abundance of water to what they can take away, the life of the foolish who think their dominion surpasses that of Nature’s.
She allows us to take up residence but can be as forgiving as she can be vengeful, that is why you must always be ready for both. That is why for eon’s the people have prayed to Buddha, their Gods and the land to grant them luck in surviving the hills and the jungles. Today Pai is a sleepy place, full of tourists, vendors and hostels. It is a place to bask in the beauty of the valley as much be in awe of the hills that shelter it and give it life.
I can here to search for my sense of self, to test the lmy limits, to rest before I go off again to explore. That is the journey I seek in the hills, from the wonders of Agra, to the mountains of Nepal, the islands of the Pacific and the ancient wonders of Asia to the hills of Pai.
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