Friday, April 18, 2014

You Don't Need to "Have it All"

The previous generation was obsessed with the idea that everyone of them, "Had to have it all," or at least, as much as possible -- which creates a problem when there is barely enough to go around.

People inevitably, spend much of their time fighting everybody else -- "for it all," without first thinking, "Is that what I really need?"  A major part of industry, was simply creating an insatiable need -- for everything, even and especially if one never had it before -- and really didn't know if they'd use and enjoy it when they got it -- but were convinced that they "had to" have it.

Among some of the things people were convinced they needed, was the biggest house, or the fanciest car, the highest status (job), trips to as many parts of the world as possible -- to live as though money were no object, or if it was, one had already "lost," and wasn't in the game with all the worthiest citizens of that society -- still striving for evermore.

Even at "retirement," it was not sufficient to bow out gracefully, but to have the "perfect" retirement (plan)  -- in the perfect retirement place, etc. -- "having it all," and leaving plenty for all their relatives and friends.  Obviously, that was not a reasonable goal for many, or most -- as it has always been, but a relatively well-documented few written about because they could afford to be written about, just as they could afford to be painted, and lavishly "entertained."

So the life of leisure and abundance, even came to be symbolized largely by one's insatiable appetite for entertainment -- more than the satisfaction of basic needs, which affluent societies now took for granted.  That became the new "poverty level" -- of just having all one really needed to live life at its most basic level.  That's how far we have "progressed" -- or many think so.

Life then becomes very difficult -- in the retirement paradises -- where the rich congregate to live the good life, particularly for those not so advantaged, and fall further behind the world's most privileged and wealthy, they live among.  In addition to the island paradises, they have also become most of the modern popular metropolises -- where the most ambitious and talented are still drawn to, in their quest to see if they can "get it all," before retiring from those "games."

Some feel they can never retire from those games -- but only find those they might be more competitive at -- golf, shuffle board, bridge, etc.  The easy one is the stock market.  And season tickets to the opera or sports team.  But now those things can be engaged in by anybody with a computer and Internet connection -- that makes living anywhere, no longer out of touch and in the boondocks -- with next day delivery for anything they order.

That is especially true, of almost anywhere in the USA -- and not that they have to be in New York, London, Paris anymore -- to avail themselves of the latest products and ideas (culture).  Most of that can be experienced in the comfort of one's living room anywhere.  That is the world we now live in.  So is it necessary to live in any particular part of the world -- to actually be living there, or can one live there, just by choosing to immerse oneself in that culture?  And if one wants the tan, nobody can tell the difference from whether it was earned from a hard day lying in the sun, or 5 minutes in a tanning booth.

All these things are not prohibitively expensive either.  They can be part of a "total package," that includes all the amenities of a health resort -- but at the end of the day, one returns to their own living room -- wherever that is.  That being the case, it makes sense to find the most affordable location that serves their needs -- for what they actually do, and need, and skip the luxury premium of doing it with the "celebrities," and others one thinks, "have it all."

Realizing this, is one's nirvana and paradise -- finding oneself, where they already are.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Golden Age

As recently as only one hundred years ago, it was considered quite an achievement if one reached the age of 65 -- and those who did, felt that they could "go" at any time.  

And so twenty years later, when the Social Security program was founded, it was still thought that it was financially sound to think that most would not live beyond a few years to collect their annuities, and those dying years would be spent in freedom from poverty and greatly diminished capacities to provide for themselves.

It was never suspected from such humble beginnings, that it could actually become the beginning of life for many people -- if one could reach that age, with minimal damage to their essential life force -- as we are only beginning to witness now, as the transformation of life to an unprecedented new level of fulfillment and actualization that was only imagined possible for a rare few in their time.  that of course, would have been the kings and privileged throughout history -- and never the prospect for the average person -- whose life was expected to be "short, brutish and nasty."  

And so the conditioning of the past, was largely that -- of the struggle for supremacy to be that One -- even if it meant vanquishing all the others to get there.  Never in their dreams, would it have been thought possible, that the life of kings, could be the life of the average person, only a hundred years later.  But that is the way history and progress played out -- so that even the least in society, also has access to the abundance and productivity of the world -- even if they have to shop at the thrift stores and yard sales for the excess accumulation everybody else has.

First there is the "more," and next, there is the "better," and ultimately, there is the "best," that it takes a self-designated few to recognize -- even if they have to create it themselves, because it never existed before, but they knew, that is what the world really needed -- even if most could not even imagine that possibility.  That is how the great inventions and innovations come into being -- while most are convinced that such a notion, is impossible, and even the thought of it should be illegal, or at least suppressed.  

For that new idea and way of thinking and living, would so change life, that most conditioned in the present status quo would be so lost in the new world (age), that they would have to unlearn everything they had ever learned in life -- as though that could not be a lifelong, continuing process -- instead of the "one and done" they expected to last their lifetime -- and forevermore, as they thought had been the norm throughout history -- as people thought a hundred years ago, and that they could not change, and embrace an entirely new way of living.

But increasingly, that is the world those who are living now, have to adapt to -- and their success is dependent on.  It is a world that requires them to first take in the new information as the "new" -- and not as the same old information, simply called the "new," and to be treated as though it were the old.  In that way, they will fail to gain any advantage of the truly new, but are limited only to the familiarity of the old -- which probably didn't work as well, and may have be the self-perpetuating problems of the past -- like light bulbs that continually have to be replaced, that never produced high quality light in the first place.  But that was what people were used to -- and thought the ideal, natural, and God-given.

Thus the old world (school) conditioning, was to persist doggedly at only one thing, doing it the one way -- so that the only outcome could be more (of the same), and not better (different).  It was even widely-thought, that simply "more" was "better" -- and not that better, was in fact, vastly different -- and even transformative -- and might change life, and the world, completely, as has been the case in these last twenty years.

It's hard to even imagine the world of twenty years ago -- anymore.  That was the world of books, newspapers, land lines, and other wired equipment.  People became untethered -- and free to roam about -- without penalties and incurring additional charges.  Individuals could now be an entire industry, and enterprise.  Everything one thought, could be recorded for posterity -- or for one's own convenience.  Ultimately, one was, the person they could imagine themselves to be -- and manifest, as proof of the soundness of that way (brand) of living.  That is reality -- and the actualization of their being.  That is who they are.

That is the Golden Age of our times.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Remembering Larry Scott

One would like to believe that simply exercising all one's life is enough to ward off the ravages of aging -- but something happens beginning around 35 for most, and even seeming to accelerate the aging process -- as we've witnessed many dying who we thought would live forever -- as well as the many others who shock us with their much too premature deaths.
Around the mid-80s, I drifted away from the bodybuilding world into the world of those dying horrible deaths from a mysterious disease called AIDS, as well as more traditional ways of dying because with the absence of world wars commencing with the latter half of the 20th century, many more were dying of age-related diseases -- because they were no longer being killed off in that manner anymore.

One of the striking things I noticed about those with dementias (Alzheimers) particularly, besides the lack of brain function and connectivity to the rest of the body, was that there was a noticeable lack of movement -- at their head, often evidenced by the atrophying of the neck muscles, and so rather than exercise for the purpose of the core muscles of the body, it seemed that the far better strategy -- was to ensure the movement, flow and development of the head, hands and feet -- at which the body's circulation is poorest.

That is the characteristic weakness of elderly bodybuilders that makes them look less than robust -- even if they continue to maintain a fairly strong core development. They are invariably atrophied at the neck, forearms and calves -- out of proportion to the much easier to maintain core muscles closer to the heart. That's seldom the problem -- as much as even the great champions of their youthful age -- begin to show this characteristic signs of aging at the head (neck), hands and feet -- that should be the highest priority in ensuring the highest functioning possible throughout life -- but which most people though they move everything else, do not move.

One of the most distinctive qualities of Larry Scott, was that his arms were particularly impressive -- mostly because he had one of the greatest ranges of movement at the wrist -- that effected the contraction of all the other muscles, that most people are not usually aware of. But he did not exhibit that range of motion at the head so much in his later years -- as he did in his peak years -- when the range of his head movements were also impressive, as well as his neck development. Arnold, Zane, and most of the former great champions, also have very limited head movement -- and thus have no means of developing the "old man's neck," as well as hands and feet, which in most people are merely as stubs -- rather than the proper focus and the design of the human body to move meaningfully and productively, and thus they age and deteriorate because of this lack oof effective movement and circulation -- despite how hard their hearts are pumping.

This is what I broached with Arthur Jones at the height of the acceptance and popularity of high-intensity training around only one axis of rotation while the rest of the body remained fixed -- and why I brought to his attention that when there was "muscle failure," it seemed to actually be "brain failure" -- caused by the lack of oxygen to the head forced to remain fixed, instead oof allowed to followed through naturally. And this is the form of movement practiced by most bodybuilders -- as well as exercisers of nearly all conventional movements -- of not moving the head, hands and feet as the primary objective, in achieving and maintaining the optimal functioning and health of the human body, which is the natural development of the human body, rather that the arbitrary form it has taken with more massive development (size) of the larger core muscles beginning with the retirement of Larry Scott as probably the culmination of the old time physique men -- who were usually relaxed and fairly normal looking until they pumped up, and transformed themselves in this ability to change -- that contemporary bodybuilders seem to lack, which is predictably very stressful for the body to maintain -- at all times.

Curiously, in reviewing some of the Iron Man videos, I notice that publisher Balik exhibits a range of head movement not usually seen in others, and for that reason, has a well-developed sternomastoid muscle, which keeps his mind sharp -- and I would think, is the solution for the notable age-old problem of lack of circulation and health at the extremities of the head, hands and feet that fail people as they age. That is the most important parts of the body to build and maintain -- as the key to longevity and health in the 21st century for aging Baby Boomer bodybuilders.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

It's the Range, Not the Average

Few people have ever pondered the question, "What am I conditioning myself for?"  Is it the range, or the average -- that one hopes to excel at?

Obviously, just doing the same thing over and over again without breaking new ground, is not the way anybody is going to become the world champion at what they do -- but is merely reinforcing their mediocrity of experience and achievement.  And so a vital part of any conditioning program -- is that one wants to program into their conditioning activities, increasing the range of their motion and activities -- so that ultimately, they can do what they previously thought was impossible to do.

That is conditioning to get better -- and not merely to stay the same, or at best, just slow down their deterioration rate for as long as possible -- which is merely prolonging the hopeless.  That's no way to live a life -- in thinking that one's best years are behind them, and not ahead -- which is also the difference between those who are aging, and those who are still growing, and finding out all they can do.

for most people, that can easily be accomplished by moving a little farther in the safe range of movement possible -- and not having to do anything reckless and foolhardy, as most people are conditioned to think.  Rather, the objective of every movement and repetition, is to extend the range of that movement -- far beyond just doing the same limited range, with more resistance.  And in fact, the more resistance one adds to a movement, the more that movement is actually constricted and constrained -- to prevent one's injury.

Every weightlifter knows that -- and that is why they are obsessed with developing economy of motion -- as the genius of what they do.  But movement does not require resistance to effect -- and is actually capable of being achieved best without resistance, or very minimal resistance at best -- because that allows safe movement beyond the range that supporting a heavy weight would make dangerous -- and danger should not be a requirement of any safe and proper training regime -- as many diehard advocates practice -- until they die hard, or injure themselves permanently -- as is inevitable using that training style and philosophy.

They are invariably the caveman types who believe that human civilization and progress is only possible through brute force -- and destroying as much around them as humanly possible, as evidence of their power -- always to destroy, and never to build anything, and particularly, their own bodies, lives and livelihoods.

So their contests are invariably about who vanquishes the other, who owns the other -- rather than a collaborative effort to create an outcome greater than all the individual contributions -- working in isolation and opposition to one another.  That is the valuable skill one hopes to produce in oneself -- and inspire in others, and not just the zero-sum game of who has vanquished all the others, and gets to be the king of the hill --pushing back all the others who want to be in their place.

That is the problem of conditioning strategies rooted in a more primitive time -- that the objective is not to kill or be killed -- or even for that matter, compete ruthlessly against one's self, thinking that is a more enlightened form of the game.  Still, many people still think that the objective of their muscles, is to oppose all the other muscles -- rather than work synergistically for optimal effect.  That requires a different world view, than the one of everything against everything else in the world -- because evolution and progress, favors those that are most compatible to the environment of their times.

Most people are unaware that up to 50 years ago, the prevailing though is that one used information to compete against everybody else -- until someone got the bright idea that information was even more powerful if it was shared among the greatest number possible -- rather than as a weapon of advantage to exploit all the others.  That is a very limited world -- dominated by the imperative to exploit, or be exploited by others -- that made world wars possible, and even inevitable.

As such, hundreds of millions of people lost their lives in such wars -- believing it was necessary to provide for their own well-being and security, never thinking that with cooperation and collaboration, they could produce vastly more for virtually everybody.  Now the world is awash in goods and services -- and many think that is the problem, and so they even try to create scarcity in a world of plenty -- in a competition for the winner to take all, thus creating the many losers of everyone else -- as though that was some kind of a virtue and honor.

That is the characteristic thinking of those who think that the purpose of anything -- is to make things harder, more difficult and complex than it has to be -- which discourages many from accessing the benefits in the universal impulse for greater simplicity and economy of effort in all one does -- and in the way of nature and its development.  That leads some to believe they should not avail themselves of the latest medical products or health information -- thinking they have to be beyond and oblivious to such considerations and advances, and return to the most primitive ways and manners, -- as the mystical height of human understanding and achievement, when life was brutal, short and nasty -- as the world they are preparing (conditioning) themselves to live in, and prosper.

Instead, such manner of conditioning, will take their greatest toll on such individuals themselves -- their shoulders, elbows, knees and backs -- thinking that is how humans are most productive, instead of at the head, hands and feet -- where the human body is best designed for movement.  They should move what is best designed for movement -- and honor those joints best designed for stability and support, rather than vice-versa -- despite all their complaints of the obvious.

The meaningful and productive range of movement -- occurs at the axes of the head (neck), wrists and ankles -- than is dependent on deadlifts, squats and bench presses to do any meaningful work.  Doing the most dangerous and damaging movements with increasing loads to predispose inevitable injury and disability, is not going to enable one to continue to perform them throughout life -- but one should recognize those movements that actually define one's daily functioning, and increase the range of those movements that reduce the occurrence and disability of the most common and frequent injuries at the wrist, ankles and neck -- that imply the proper functioning of all the movements and capabilities of the body -- but not vice-versa.

It is the range of movement at the neck (head), hands and feet -- that are the defining indicators of health and functioning in the human body -- over the usual and obvious yardsticks people are used to observing and think is important to articulate and maintain.  If it hurts only when one does that, one should stop -- and find out what movements don't, and are productive to continue and increase the range (possibilities) of lifelong mastery.

Monday, February 17, 2014

When to Collect Social Security -- In a Nutshell

The reason a lot of people take early Social Security is because they have no choice. They are out of work and have exhausted their unemployment compensation with no prospects in sight, or are in poor health and barely hanging onto their jobs. I'm sure the people at the welfare office are not going to allow them to collect welfare if they qualify for Social Security -- or have other resources.
But those who have an income (including Unemployment Compensation) who don't really need the extra income, are shortsighted to grab the money just because they can. If you don't need the money, it is wise to let the benefits grow until one does, but if one does need the money, one shouldn't put oneself under hardship and duress thinking they are wise not to avail themselves of that money -- because that is what the program was designed for -- and not to maximize one's benefits if one doesn't need the money. Those people have other means (choices) to increase their money.

Many people don't. The object of American life is no longer being the richest person buried in the cemetery -- or having the most money at the end. I think Warren Buffett and Bill Gates already have those honors locked up.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Understanding Flow

Probably the key to understanding the universe and life, is the principle of flow -- or movement; life would not be possible otherwise, and when that flow is impeded in the many ways, it creates the disruption that is the source of disease and poor health and functioning.

Most people know that the heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood through the rest of the body, but most are unclear of how the rest of the body, pumps blood back to the heart -- as though that was something that needed to be thought about at all.  But that is how people are not created equal -- as those who are the healthiest, are the most skilled at doing -- even if they are not aware of that up to now.

When people become aware of this simple principle of why and how there is movement, then life itself takes on a whole different meaning and purpose -- because one has this control of their essential well-being and functioning to a greater extent than they ever thought possible.  It's not something profound that should not be discussed except by the great philosophical and physical Masters, but something every person should learn as early as possible -- as their basic understanding of life.

Atoms and molecules move from where there is a greater concentration (pressure) to where there is less; blood flows not because the heart is pumping, as the greater principle that it expands and it contracts to create pressure differences in the direction that allows it.  Once the blood and nutrients are at the extremities, they do not just turn around and return by the same path they came, but by the network designed for flow (movement) only back towards the heart.

We know it -- if we distinguish the difference at all -- as the arterial and the venal systems -- that operate distinctively differently -- and largely determines the differences in people, and in individuals themselves -- when they are operating at their best (in the flow), and when they become diseased and dysfunctional (blocked).  The ancient people had all kinds of explanations for these blockages -- and how to restore those passageways -- so that one returned to health -- or suffered an untimely end.

They are more effective because of the better understanding of the principles of flow -- and how they better effect that flow, rather than subvert and impede them -- both deliberately and inadvertently.  In athletic competitions, performances, events, behaviors, that is the unifying objective -- to get into and achieve that flow which is the success of any undertaking.  Not to, leaves a sense of incompletion and dissatisfaction that all did not go well -- and something was missing, even when they aren't sure of what "it" was.

Many even condition themselves to the struggle -- and not the flow, until it is too late to learn anything else.  By then, their bodies may be totally exhausted or compromised, and becomes the cause of their own demise.  It might be the dementia from breaking too many bricks or boards with their heads, catching too many punches with their heads, absorbing too many blows on the football field, or professional "wrasling" -- convinced as they were, that what didn't kill them, made them stronger, rather than increasing their exposure and risk to self-inflicted permanent disability.

Thus, people a hundred years from now, will regard as mind-boggling, that people now inflict injuries upon themselves thinking that is making them healthy, instead of directly understanding how to restore the flow to the area of their lives needing it.  That's why postures don't work, or holding a contraction for as long as one can -- because both work against optimizing the flow, in preferring one state over the other, when it is both that are required to maximize the flow -- just as the heart does with its rhythmic alternation.  That is what the heart does unfailingly -- at its end of the bargain.  It would be doubly appreciated, if that is what the muscles of the rest of the body did, to optimize the flow, and therefore health, of the entire organism.

That is ignored, and often placed off-limits by the specialists who believe that is their exclusive province to administer -- as though God gave anybody that exclusive domain over all the others.  But even if God doesn't, men will conspire to claim those exclusive rights for themselves -- through some exercise of power and exclusivity -- as though they knew with certainty about such things.  But theirs is just their own understanding -- and not necessarily the truth, unless one chooses to believe it so. 

Many are convinced that if they just lift enough weight, or run a certain distance, that will optimize their health for life -- rather than that it could harm it prematurely. The greatest cause of injuries, is from people hoping to become more fit -- whether in the gym, track or football field -- until finally one day, they realize they are past the point of recovery.  So in designing a program for lifelong well-being, there should be minimal risk of injury -- instead of producing them, as one will do in activities seeking to push themselves beyond their present limits.  A better practice, would be to learn what one's limits are -- and not to push beyond that, jeopardizing one's well-being and readiness, if not life itself.

That is simply "knowing oneself," rather than "becoming" what one is not -- however greater one might think to be.  That is a very key understanding -- that the greatest achievement is knowing the person one is -- rather than all the illusions and delusions of  another one wishes to become.  That is the simplicity of understanding -- out of which life flows.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What Matters

There is no end to what people can consider to be important -- and relevant, and so one has to determine for themselves, what most matters and makes a difference.

One cannot prepare for all contingencies -- so one must prepare for those outcomes most likely to manifest, as the wisest and most productive use of their time.

That is particularly true for those who could do anything -- because they the have resources and leisure to re-create their lives in whatever fashion they think is important to do so.  That doesn't have to be running a marathon every day -- or the equivalent of it.  No arbitrary measure such as that, has ever been a "requirement" to be fit.  One is "fit" by the challenges and tasks they want to master -- which can be as simple as one's own genetic limitations and defects -- which every individual uniquely has.  It's not the same for everyone.  That should be obvious by now.

Yet daily, we are bombarded by what some "expert" thinks "everyone" must conform to -- even if it is for all to run on a treadmill for at least 30 minutes each day, or to stand up as much as possible -- when doing so, would be intolerable pain and torture for many.  Such experts will insist that everyone can -- from age 7 to 70 -- and beyond.  What of those who can't?  They should at least try -- and failing that, they should try harder -- until they can, the bromide continues.

In that way, one can get all others to do something they would not ordinarily do in a lifetime -- if not so advised they must, and is essential for their well-being -- despite it not addressing the most critical problems of that individual, and in fact causing them.  One doesn't have to throw a ball 100 mph all one's life, or lift the heaviest weight possible at every opportunity as testimony to their fitness, or to survive; one can do things more important and meaningful to do.

In every case, that would be the most intelligent thing one can do -- rather than the most difficult thing one can think of doing -- that they would not do otherwise, if someone didn't convince them that was what they have to do.  Usually, that is simply the fad of the moment -- rather than some great enduring truth -- that their teacher was the first to discover thousands of years ago.

But the truth can always be discovered in the present moment and circumstances -- especially by an unprejudiced mind -- not too full of their own knowledge to consider that any other truth can be known.  For most though, their truth is simply what confirms what they already know -- and so no new information does them any good, but merely strengthens their resistance to knowing any other -- because that is also a part of their conditioning -- and probably the greater part of it.  That dooms them -- rather than makes them more fit to discover the unknown.

And so the first time they do encounter the unknown, they are among the first to perish -- because they have no provision for dealing with the new -- as the new, and not simply a repetition of the old, in a new guise.  That can be a fatal or irrecoverable mistake -- rather than a greater opportunity it presents -- sometimes killing the messenger before learning that they are free -- distrustful of outsiders as they have become.

So the advice that one must do anything only a certain way -- without the presentation of underlying reasons for that choice, and any other alternatives, should be reason for caution and inquiry before proceeding much further -- particularly if they aren't working, for the teachers themselves.  That is usually the first indication, that an idea has merit and some validity.  Otherwise, the morbidly obese, anorexics and atrophied, would know all the ways that do not work to achieve robustness -- rather than always be striving and losing their battles to achieve it.