IM the I Am

Back in January of 1996 two students at Stanford University began a research project that would evolve into one of the greatest gifts ever given to the planet. It was the development of a search engine that would provide information to determine a website’s relevance. The project evolved into a company as Google was introduced to the business world.

The name originated from the word ’googol’ which is defined as the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. In other words, lots of information. Their mission statement was ‘To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’.  This could be considered an intention to help the planet by having something so complex be easily available for people.

Google has evolved from being a company name and a statement of intention to become an expression. It is now the action of initiating search. No longer is the direction given to “Go use that Google program to do a search”. Instead it is simply “Go Google it”.

Back in February of 1978 fifteen athletes in Hawaii began a quest that would become one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. It began with an informal challenge of breaking the barriers of athletic endeavors and would evolve into being a pinnacle of the sporting world.

The quest began on the shoreline of the island of Oahu with a grueling 2.4 mile swim in the waters of the Pacific Ocean followed by a bike ride of 112 miles around the island culminating with a 26.2 marathon run. The story is told that it was agreed that whoever finished first would be called the Ironman. The next year the personal challenge became a scheduled race and the Ironman triathlon was born.

The Hawaii Ironman, referred to as IM Kona, is the day of reckoning for those who have trained with intense discipline and have cultivated mindfulness to develop the mental edge for peak performance. This mental edge is about becoming more aware of what is happening in the outside surroundings while being more attuned to themselves within.  This provides clarity to what is happening in their thinking, maintaining a calm presence of mind along with the utmost desire to keep going and never give up. It is defined as becoming an Ironman when you cross the finish line to be acknowledged by the voice of Mike Reilly saying, “You-are-an Ironman!”.

Ironman is now an entity, a living, breathing representation of dedication, courage and responsibility. It is the willingness to volunteer support of others without fanfare or expectation of reward. It is about helping those who are facing challenges and difficulties with the conviction that anything is possible in every IM race.

Now, in addition to saying “Let’s Google it”, the same can be said for Ironman. ‘Let’s be Ironman’. I like what that means. I’m up for that, yes I am. It is now your responsibility to live this credo every moment of every day for the rest of your life. So go forward and be ‘IM that” or is it I am that? You decide.

White-Line Fever

Queen K Highway Bike

Queen ‘K’ Highway

The sound of a whirring chain is heard beyond the din of the hot Mumuku winds. These Hawaiian winds blow over from the town of Waimea on a course to reach the coast below Kawaihae, a town on the Big Island of Hawaii. The  daily direction of the wind is over the lava on the lower slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano however on this day this ancient flow is interrupted by over twelve-hundred warriors on bikes.

My immediate attention was the focus of a 3-inch wide white line roadway boundary tied like a ribbon along the black asphalt surface of the Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway, often called the ‘Queen K’. If I would dare to turn my head for the briefest moment I would see a landscape that was rocky, malformed and desolate, making the surface of the moon look like an oasis. The view of the rocky, barren landscape could only be a glimpse as the focus and attention immediately returned to the white line along the black surface. Yet the relentless wind continued its endless swirl amidst the presence of this tri-athlete’s body, sitting on a saddle, hands on handlebar, and nothing else going through the mind except the awareness of the legs pumping, the feet on the pedals…push-spin-pull… breathe in, breathe out… push-spin-pull…breathe in,  breathe out.

Little did I know that my first active meditation practice was introduced to me at that time while riding along that sun-baked road.   Continue reading

Bike Transition Spectacle

Improving awareness improves the attention of your mind saving you time and effort during a race. The busy mind causes you to be in a hurry and rushing around in a panic will cost you when you are not focused on the immediate task at hand.

While watching a recent triathlon I witnessed the attitudes and actions present at the bike dismount zone marker. The actions ranged from those cruising to the line with a gradual rolling stop to some bikers showing the gymnastics necessary when coming to a near-fall immediate stop. Think about it…what would be the benefit of a few seconds compared to the possibility of injury for the remainder of the race?

US_Navy Bike small

During my time viewing the riders there was a particularly obvious event of a biker that revealed the actions of an occupied mind. The biker came flying into the zone full speed, near-skid the brakes while hopping out of the shoes both feet at the same time. Being off-balance forced the hands to stay on the handlebars resulting in the bike doing a rear-wheel hop into the air. All of this happened in an instant and the unfortunate result was his shin hitting the spinning pedal causing him to skip a step and utter a gasp of pain. He was basically out of control.

Technically this could have been avoided with a different approach to the dismount, Continue reading

Triathlon Transition Training

Public Use PhotoIt takes time, effort, training and equipment to reach a personal record and improve your times during each stage of the race. However at some point you will peak as your fitness level reaches a plateau. In fact, there will likely be many times during the season when your training performance may flatten and improvement becomes incremental. At this time it would be easy to consider what is happening as an irreversible downturn in your ability and performance. However, there is another aspect of the triathlon where you can improve your time that is beyond the level of fitness. This is found in the transitions. Continue reading

The Power of Purpose in Life

When we are without a purpose in life we are like a ship without a rudder, tossed about the seas at the mercy of the current, wind and waves. During these times we experience an emotional upheaval as self-doubt creeps into our minds and permeates our souls. The effect on our physical-self alters our response to daily life, affects our diet or limits our ability to create. The absence of accomplishments opens the opportunity for self-deprecation and making excuses. We become experts at proving how bad we are and we become proficient in negating any accomplishments. We become confused, not knowing where to turn.Blog Photo

When in a state of confusion and despair we may have thoughts and ideas often laced with futility and hopelessness. Continue reading

Daily Life Transition Training

The topic of transitions was introduced in an earlier post related to sports however this is an important subject that can be practiced in any area of our lives. Obviously one cannot be prepared for every transition in life and cannot practice each change as they would for a race, but can you mentally practice the steps you need in one area, such as sports, to train your mind to use that mentality in other areas of your life whether it be a different job, a new relationship or the suddenly quiet house when the kids have grown up and have left the nest.

Tricycle Bike

As in sports, the aspects of time, effort, training and equipment are a part of each activity as we move through the day.
There will likely be many times during the day when your attitude and attention to detail may become distracted resulting in a mistake or accident. At these times it would be easy to judge yourself for doing something wrong or place blame on someone else for causing what happened.

The transition is the process of changing from one activity to another which includes thinking. Excelling in life is dependent not only on a daily routine but also on brain function. Continue reading

COMMITMENT

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too.”

MT SHUKSANAll sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

“Whatever you can do or
dream you can…begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

W.H. Murray (1951):
The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Beyond Looking Good

A quiet, relaxing Sunday morning. The air is clear and crisp. The beginning of a warm Spring day. You sit down to read the Sunday newspaper, the smell of coffee permeates the air. You are taken by surprise as you unfold the newspaper. You drop your coffee cup splashing the de-caf across the floor. Rubbing your eyes and shaking your head  you try to make sense of the headline that greets you:

Extra! Extra! Read all about it.
Human Being Searches for Lost Soul
Authorities Seek Missing Person

Imagine looking for someone lost in the wilderness. You have an idea who the person is however you do not have a map or guide to help you in your search. In fact, you have little or no idea where to even begin, feeling a hopelessness that keeps you riveted to your chair. The choice is presented to either just sit there and pretend that all is okay or get up and do something about it. You then recognize that a lifelong discomfort is actually a burning desire to know the truth and that the missing person can be found. Continue reading

Act of Will

As you begin to hear yourself question what something means or why you are doing something that causes pain, suffering or hardship you can take solace in the fact that you are beginning to wake up to how unaware you have been. One of the most challenging aspects of beginning a path is to recognize the need to change from within and bring this part of your life out into the world.  While travelling the newly discovered path it may become evident that the endless adding to your life with things outside of yourself to make you feel different on the inside is no longer serving you.

Deepening awareness can give you a hint into which direction you can choose to travel and which direction avoid. It is finding some reality in a life that is not real. Reading a book can inspire and give you further insight, listening to an audio recording or a speaker on stage may help reach you in another way, yet you must find what is true for yourself by going beyond the mind. This means you must first become aware of how your mind works for you and how it affects you in every aspect of your life.

As you finally decide to do what is necessary to open your heart you begin to bring your attention to a focus within. The healing begins as you sharpen the level of clarity in your thinking and accept the possibility that the plane of true love comes from within. This will likely bring voices of protest and attack from loved ones accusing you of being selfish, uncaring and crazy for chasing invisible dreams.

It was nice knowing you.