This might seem like the right time to write about my personal philosophy- Civilize the mind, make savage the body. I dont know when or where I read that to be honest with you, but it seems like just the right mantra for someone who is currently cultivating the idea of Tarzan in a tuxedo… The concept of it might seem simple, but think about it for a moment: how often do we really push our minds and bodies? How often do we really give ourselves a trial by fire? Recently, I was commenting on a thread on the Spartan site and the idea of finishing the Ultra Beast came up. Feeling low and out of touch with myself I questioned whether I could, in fact, endure 26.2 + (see how they sneak the plus in) hellish miles of war (Im telling you the ish thing with these Spartan races will kill me). Im not being overly dramatic. It is war and anyone who cant see that isnt seeing the forest for the trees.
This run that I am embarking on, hell every run that I do with my friends and family takes on the same tone to me, prepping for battle, and before anyone says Im not enjoying myself because im taking it too seriously, allow me to present exhibit A
See that guy up there? The one with the big old sh*t eating grin? Thats me… Almost noone EVER sees me smile, like EVER. However in the chaos, the strife, the struggle, I find myself. In the mindset of war my mind and body focus and an all consuming urge to make sure my team is safe and having fun and pushing as hard as we can so we cross that finish line TOGETHER. Yeah, that is fun. That, to me, is a piece of heaven I can never explain. What I do understand is the union and harmony of mind and body, the total pursuit of a goal, not just the tedium of
nor the endless toil of
is what bring me the most sense of joy and acomplishment. That perfect union of my mind and body going to extremes.
Now I know there are some of you who would say, “But Jay, that stack of muscley-meat up there has to focus his mind in order to achieve his goal.” My very mature answer to you is “Go to hell you jerk and stop ruining my blog!” Im not saying that people who are built dont have good minds for what they like, nor am I saying the desk jockey isnt physically fit. What I am saying is that none of these stereotypes are particularly well rounded. I could be wrong but the battles of nerds vs. jocks during my formative years says otherwise. One of my college profs. once summed it up best “An expert is a master of one thing, but totally ignorant to everything else going on around them.” I have a lot of friends around me totally able to do complex science-y stuff but not be able to change the tire of their own car, (or for that matter how to put on and use a tool belt) or another group who are the ones who can do all sorts of manly things but consider a tee shirt and jeans proper dress for all occasions. I have guy friends.. GUY FRIENDS who wont go hunting with me cause the early morning air is bad for their skin…. Really? Seriously? My wife hates the winter, not just because of the cold.. but mostly cause she misses mud run season. Hell last year she sported a black eye from one run, you would swear she just hit the lotto by how excited she was..
Anyway, sorry rant over. Told you in post 2 I rant…. I warned you.
So my mantra… In an effort to exercise my mind I have downloaded from one of my favorite blogs, The Art of Manliness, the top 100 books every man MUST read. Yes, these books are more geared towards men but screw that crap I dont see why women wouldnt be interested in most of these classics.
I already have a good deal of these books under my belt and have turned a few friends on to some of them as well. What I urge is this: Dont just read them- take something away from them. Dont just read the story- put yourself in there as well. Ask yourself questions. Become involved with the characters. Hell, there are books on there I have yet to get through all the way…
But dont let that stop you, and remember this is not college so if you dont like something, put it down and get something else. Heck, most times I have to wade through 15 plus chapters of mind numbing boredom before I get to something even remotely interesting or shocking.
The thing is that we all- every one of us- focus on what we like/what we are good at/what we feel comfortable with. A year ago I fell into a muddy put of laughing good times that pushed me out of my comfort zone (shhhh I hate running its a secret!!!!) Now I am trying to further my self and try new books, new thoughts, experiences and ideas and I cant picture any other way to live at this point.
Do I trip and fall into an 8 hour pit of Ninja Warrior repeats?
Sure. Hell, its fun to shut off, too, so long as it is only for a little while. Once recharged pick up a book and let that take you on a new adventure. Learn new schools of thought, new skills anything, just dont stick with what is safe or what you are comfortable with. I guess the point is dont become an expert on one thing and forget to try other things as well. I know im going to try to keep learning so that when my little monster comes to me with a question about something I can actually be of SOME kind of help.
Next rant, make savage your body…