How to be a human “being”

“Joining with the body… feeling what’s actually happening inside you… just experiencing now as it is in your body, is a courageous and profoundly radical choice, ” Nancy Colier LCSW, Rev., Psychology Today.

I can’t sit still. At all.

Nail technicians don’t like me very much. I don’t want a design, use language more colorful than the options for gel-polish, and have a serious issue sitting still. The managers can smell my discomfort with relaxation, even through the acetone. Which is why they look at me sideways I turn down the offer for a p.m.-pinot.

The 3 lb meatloaf-mind of mine, is a bit like that of a dragonfly — come to think of it — on par in speed, unpredictability, and whimsy. Both mind, and body, are in a constant war to be better than before. Not that it’s a bad thing — to be ready for battle — there has to come a point where we allow ourselves to retreat and be.

In an effort to not piss off my technician, this afternoon, an article subtitled “From human doing to human being,” grabbed my attention. We’re introduced by what we do, not who we are. Our value is placed on how much we make, or how many follow. Somewhere in the mix, we stopped being entirely.

Humans haven’t gotten this far by entrapping themselves on a comparative hamster wheel of flashing funds, or quick fixes. Humans have evolved by being.

Being present, within themselves, serving one another, engaging in stories and evolutions. That’s what it meant to be a human being. Something tells us that if we stop going — at all — the wheel will implode along with our opportunity to be enough.

What if… I told you that the brain is wired just like your house. Paths, that hold certain responsibilities, with synapses that serve the purpose of electrochemical pulse that reverberate throughout the mind and body. Causing the associated neurotransmitters to be released, and the given response to be elicited.

That meatloaf in your head fires in patterns it’s been trained to understand. The brain receives a stimulus, the stimulus elicits a reaction, the reaction elicits a response. You are the one in control of these pathways and the way in which your body responds to them.

If you’re finding difficulty being still — as my lovely nail lady do gently pointed out — train it just like you would anything else. Mindfulness is a fitness weakness many of us have — and refuse to work it in. Personally, I think a well rounded brain is sexier than abs, and a tight ass.

It’s a powerful piece of machinery, that deserves rest, and recovery, as much as every other entity in the body.

When you find your brain inching back for another hit of the hamster wheel:

  1. Recognize the thought and bring it in. All thoughts are, are little rubber duckies (each with their own unique appearance) you put on a river bed. They can float by — hell you can even throw em away. They’re yours to do with what you wish. Either way — it’s just a ducky.
  2. What does this ducky have to offer you? Is there something that serves you along the next chapter? Or is that ducky carrying a load that’s baring its buoyancy.
  3. Take what ya want/need, leave what you don’t
  4. Move forward with more love than before.

Thanks to my sicilian heritage, this very patient technician was finishing the second attempt at top coat when she said, “As long as you do it with love, you will never be wrong.” That’s all we’re trying to do — any of us are trying to do.

Begin with your brain. Nourish, and nurture that 3 lb meat loaf in your noggin. Remember that up until now — you’ve only had 10% access to a mechanism capable of so much more. Treat every thought with openness, love and optimism — even when it seems impossible — it is.

Sandow, Caesar, and Success

Success is an interesting metric. A bit like love, it is difficult to define as the meaning is subjectively derived. In a digital age, we are subjected to montages of monumental purchases, of disproportionate monetary value.

Leaving humans — that are currently chasing down their demons and dreams — left to feel less than enough. The luxuries of life are just that — luxuries. They are to be appreciated from afar — unless you fit the ticket. A bourgeois brownie badge of esteem entitled to an empire.

Julius Caesar is one of the most infamous rulers in history. An authoritarian — once proclaimed “dictator for life,” — known for his extravagance. Bronze cast statues, elaborate palaces, and parties with hefty price tags, left him relatively unpopular with taxpayers of Rome.

Though he successfully made citizenship available to those on the outskirts of the empire, and made an effort for social/political reform, he was a populist whose policies irked the upper class and elites  

In theory he had it all.  Money, fame, blindly adoring subjects, beautiful women, and an empire. As a result of Caesar’s outrageous spending, and political leanings, his empire eventually crumbled.

On the Ides of March, a group of rebellious insiders — led by his confidant, Brutus — stabbed Caesar to death on the steps of his palace and left him for dead. Perhaps not surprisingly, Brutus fled Rome, but was later apprehended.

Shakespeare, historians and authors have immortalized Caesar’s saga; to this day, he remains on of the most well known — albeit controversial — rulers in Roman history.

Moving forward to the turn of the twentieth century we get another self-made man, Eugen Sandow. At 5’8” and never weighing more than 175 lbs, he was not massive, but his impact was.

A German immigrant, he built an empire of his own as the father of modern day bodybuilding, and the original modern-day strong man.

He toured around the world, appearing Vaudeville shows where he performed his awe inspiring feats of strength. His acts included overhead pressing ponies, and holding strong as “Hercules bridge.”  He also utilized his charisma and revolutionary physique, which had audiences on their feet.

The Sandow name, derived from his mother’s German maiden name “Sandov,” became a brand of its own. One that was heavily sought after, and rarely sold.

Sandow held steadfast to his belief in the power of physical fitness, health, wellness, and the betterment of an individual human. As his muscles marveled the maidens in the crowd, he reminded himself — and viewers — that they too could achieve their own level of perfection.

Sandow introduced the original workout guides, mainstream fitness accessories, and the concept of pursuing an entrepreneurial empire in the world of health and fitness. Sandow was asked to cast his impeccable physique in bronze — similar to Caesar — which can still be seen in Brussels.

He was wildly successful and admired unwaveringly by those he inspired.

A bad investment, and a worse marriage, coupled with the war and bankruptcy, Sandow lost nearly everything. Legend has it that he died lifting a car. Though it wasn’t actually the lift that did it — it was an aneurysm — he would have preferred a more grandiose grand finale.  

His wife, left bitter and broke, buried Sandow in an unmarked grave. Shortly thereafter, Sandow was essentially scrapped from conscious existence. His empire, crushed under the weight of expectation, and demand. 80 years later, his grandson erected a immovable structure that resembles the superhuman — one of a kind — strength, that Sandow possessed.

Sandow is now immortalized in a miniature bronze sculpture, better known as The Sandow Trophy at Mr. Olympia, as a tribute to his irreplaceable impact on the fitness industry.

Both Sandow and Caesar ruled empires of their own in ways that could not be more different.

 With two such successful empire builders, we are left with the question: what is success? Is it the size of the empire, longevity, or material wealth? Is success having the ability to inspire, lead, or make an impact? When have you achieved it?

By dedicating yourself to your truth, relentlessness, and passion, success is yours to experience many times over. It is not about tyrannical tactics or monuments, it is about a lasting impact. That does not come with an account balance, or Aston Martin. Success is rooting down into your passion with ruthless resilience, action, and love.