I’ve been quiet for about a year-and-a-half now, basically since my son, Ian was born. Now that he’s a bit more self-sufficient, and I’m feeling like I have a bit more time on my hands, I’m writing again. My new project is a collaboration between Matthew Krepps and me. You can read all about it at myCreativeEvolution.com.
I won’t be adding much new content to this site, but I’ll keep the archives up for posterity’s sake. Thanks for stopping by, and again, check out my new personal development blog at myCreativeEvolution.com.
photo courtesy of Squeaky Knees
On the heels of the great Roger Federer’s recent and utter silencing of any critics, with major championships number 14 and 15 at Roland Garros and the All England Club, I revisited a 2006 New York Times article by David Foster Wallace, “Roger Federer as Religious Experience.” If you’re a tennis fan in general, a Federer fan specifically, the entire article is worth reading. Its 5 pages are full of astute observations, but there is something said in the first several paragraphs I found incredibly interesting on this particular reading. I thought I might comment on it in this blog entry.
Wallace asserts, “high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.” It’s not that courage is the object or purpose of war. Obviously, conquering the enemy is the goal, but the courageous tend to rise to the top. You might say, courage in war is often rewarded with victory. Likewise, in the uppermost tiers of competitive sport, it seems, beauty is often rewarded with victory.
This might seem a strange statement since most sports fans flock around their big-screen televisions with thoughts of beauty far from the fronts of their minds. However, what we’re talking about here is, as Wallace pointed out in his essay, “beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty.” He goes on to say,
“Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.”
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So, for the past couple weeks, in addition to preparing for and rejoicing in the arrival of my first son, Ian Andrew Walter (YAY!), I have been researching various various forms of natural, barefoot running. There are many purists out there who would like us all to run, walk, and locomote everywhere barefoot. It appears this is not only honoring the elegant, evolutionary design of the human being, but it’s also great for your arches, knees, and calves, and it reduces your risk of ankle injury. Whatever your stand in this debate, I remain unwilling to run through my neighborhood feet completely unshod, given the various shards of sharp things that lie in wait.
This mixture of a fervent respect for nature’s design and a practical approach to training in the modern world lead me to Barefoot Ted and his huarache sandal kits. These sandals’ design were brought to Barefoot Ted’s attention by a few Tarahumara (Raramuri in their native tongue) Indians running Ultra-Marathons in the U.S. The Raramuri are natives of a rural area in northwestern Mexico called Copper Canyon. They are runners by lifestyle, trekking long distances from enclave to enclave in the rugged mountains of the region, all the while wearing this particular brand of sandal.
So I ordered a kit to make my own from Barefoot Ted and recorded the experiment to share with you guys. Please let me know what ya’ll think!
In terms of looks, these things are so cool I can’t stand it … always interesting to see people’s reactions. In the last couple weeks I’ve run 20 km (about 12.5 miles), mostly on pavement. The first 5k yielded significant DOMS in my calves that lasted most of 5 days or so, but the subsequent 5k outings have been much easier with recovery more in the range of 24-36 hours. I am considering grabbing another kit without the leather footpad to use in wet conditions, because the leather tends to get slick on me.
The sandals really are quite comfortable, but the secret to the comfort is in the proper tie. I did create two “hot-spot” rope burns on my left foot during the first two outings, but tweaking the tie job a bit alleviated that problem … plus, just getting my feet used to the new kicks helped as well. It’s kind of like pulling out my Tevas for the first float trip of the summer: they always leave a little mark or two on my ankles, but after a day or so it’s no big deal.
Overall, I am loving the experience and glad for the opportunity to make my own pair of minimal, traditional sandals. Something about the idea that this design has been working for millennia makes me a happy guy.
Reasons for pursuing minimal footwear:
Fun things to do in your minimal footwear:
photo courtesy of maldiviandude
Alright, here’s the final installment of Do This Now - The Anatomy of Happiness. Over the past several months, Matt Krepps and I have had 4 conversations about the nature of happiness, and about what contributes generally to a state of unhappiness, or dissatisfaction in our lives. This is the fourth.
We begin with an exploration of deception techniques in the natural world. If you look around, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any species (ours included) that doesn’t employ some sort of deception in order to maximize its position in the food chain. This implies, particularly in humans, there may also be some advantage for those who evolve a proclivity for self-deception. How much more convincing are we when we believe our own lies? What role might this self-deception play in our day to day frustrations? If the spiritual traditions, in asking us to surrender our little lies for the honest business of existence, remove the powerful evolutionary advantage of deception, why have they stuck around so long?
These are a few of the questions we address in this installment. Here’s a point-by-point synopsis:
- Intro and recap of Parts 1-3
- Variations on Original Sin as The Fundamental Flaw
- Sin as a Disease of Perception, which has an Evolutionary Advantage
- Self-Deception as an Evolved Trait
- Why the Spiritual Traditions?
- The Disadvantages of Self-Deception
- The Most Difficult Thing About Religion
- The Toolbox of Spirituality
- The Nature of Fearlessness
- What It Means To “Stand At The Beginning”
- Distrust Your First Thought
- Surrender As The Final Destination
- What Do You Do When You Don’t Get What You Want?
- The Spiritual Traditions As Motive Clarification Techniques
- Final Thoughts
Here’s the audio file download link, and of course you can use the player below. It runs about 62 minutes.
The quote of the conversation for me was Matt’s revelation that “the ability to be unsatisfied with style makes an adult with style … and panache.”
Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at philip(at)brickhousebodymind(dot)com if you have any questions, thoughts, etc.
I am closing the official Anatomy of Happiness dialogue, but we are planning more conversations in the near future. Is there anything else in particular you would like us to address? Do you think we’re crazy – are we wasting our time?
Please let me know.
Until next time, Peace be with you and yours.
photo courtesy of abbamouse
So, in my day job, I produce videos and provide audio/visual support for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. As I make the rounds from one meeting to another, I come across more free food than you can shake a stick at, which is simultaneously a blessing and a curse. For example, this morning I was accosted by a tray full of ooey gooey cinnamon rolls. They were tempting to say the least. Heck, it was because of this very thing that I gained probably 15 pounds when I first started my job at the hospital.
Since then, of course, I have tamed those wildly hungry hippos, and this morning I was able to avoid temptation as well. I did this largely because I have goals set in front of me, and I have a specific plan in place to reach those goals. This is paramount going into a situation like the one I faced this morning. Had I not had those goals in mind and the specific strategies in place to reach those goals, it would have been much easier to cave into temptation.
Most of my goals at the moment revolve around getting my book as perfect as I can get it before its release next month. My physical strategy going into taking pictures next weekend has been a combination of Intermittent Fasting and strength training. I first came across this strategy in Brad Pilon’s fantastic eBook, Eat Stop Eat. If you’re interested in building muscle and burning fat, follow the link below and pick up a copy for yourself. Plus, if you get one in the next 48 hours, he’s got a FREE GIFT for you: his newest book on the truth about protein.
Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat + The Truth About Protein for FREE
All that said, the idea of having goals and strategies in place certainly doesn’t apply just to physical fitness. I have gone to great lengths to include emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual strategies in my new book as well. For a few tips on setting goals across the board, click below to read the rest of this article.
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