Tag Archives: self awareness

do not be just another sheep in the flock

To really live, first escape from the prison you made for yourself.

Some change, some significant shift in the way I think and feel has allowed me to better understand the infinite intricacies of life, to see my true inner self, and consequently gain a much greater self-awareness and feeling of self-confidence.

I firmly believe that I can now rise above the obstacles and pit-falls of this crazy chaotic life in a determined and assertive way.  I know that I can follow the warrior’s path to happiness and genuine fulfillment.  Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, there is a forceful and innovative energy bubbling away in the depths of my subconsciousness.  Taken together this means that, since my return from a weird vacation in Turkey, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strike out on my own, to feel confident and liberated, in control of what is happening in my own life.

I have always had a great deal of financial freedom, but emotionally and spiritually I have been utterly repressed, a prisoner of my own inadequacies and the negativity of others.  Now I need to engage my true strengths and inner abilities ~ I guess working out how to do that may take a little longer than I think.

I have always had a strong character and a strong will, but always seemed to be afraid of leaving the well established fortress of my comfort zone.  I believe that I am no longer fearful of releasing my strong will and doing things quite differently from other people.

In my life it’s been much easier to follow the flow of everyone else, but that route will never allow anyone to reach their destiny and discover their own ultimate truth.  It seems now is the time for me to become more of a leader, and less of just another sheep in the flock,

Perhaps it really is time for me to break free of the limitations I have created for myself, and others have created for me, by trying to conform to what I think I ‘should’ be doing.  You can please some of the people most of the time if you do what they want, but no matter what you do, you can’t please all your family and friends all of the time.

To begin with, my new and different attitude felt rebellious and disrespectful, but I now know that if I don’t dare to be different, I will never realise just how much I can enjoy This Life.

Some say that you only get one chance to remake your life into what you have always wanted it to be.  And, that everyone who is close to you will do everything they can to stop you from breaking away.  All I know is that I can and will do just what my destiny calls me to do.

I am no longer a prisoner, I am a free man.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

sometimes all you need is a very cool car

 

Know What You Don’t Want

A wise man doesn’t try to get what he doesn’t want.

Many people don’t know what they want out of life, and many of them struggle to find a way to discover their true needs, want, desires, and dreams.  Even if you know what you most need, want, desire, and dream of having ~ well, whatever it is might be very difficult, or almost impossible to acquire.  This applies especially to friendship, love, sexual desire…..  in fact anything that relies upon another person doing what you want is always going to be an almost impossible dream.  You have no control whatsoever over what another person thinks, feels, likes, dislikes, loves, or hates.

Your most important “want” should be the one you can control.  ~  Shannon L. Alder.

You cannot make her / him love you, desire you, or even like you.

It follows therefore, that in our journey through life, at some point we should work out what we truly, honestly, realistically need, want, desire, or dream of having.

And this is where most of us come unstuck.  We have no idea what it is that we want ~ other than our life goes on pretty much as it has always gone on, without us having to think about it too much, or wandering too far outside of our own comfort zones.

We Just Do Not Know What We Really Want.

However, all of us, or almost all of us, know what we don’t like about our life.  Almost all of us know exactly what we hate about our lives.  Most of us know exactly who and what we want to walk away from, and after that never, ever, keep in touch.

Some of us can tell exactly when there’s an elephant in the room ~ we know when there are important issues that are not being discussed with our significant other, and instead all we ever seem to talk about is meaningless trivia.

Many of us know that our wants, needs, desires, and important dreams are not being fulfilled.  We know that we are frustrated and unfulfilled.

Therefore, as a first step to knowing what you really want, write down what you know you don’t want.  Write down what you don’t like about your life.  Write down what you hate about your life.

Be honest.  Be brutally honest with yourself.

Do not censor yourself ~ just write down what comes into your head.

Don’t over-think things, just write, whatever it is and however bad it seems.

You will have to force yourself to confront the real and damaging issues in your most private life, instead of just focusing on fluffy easy minor annoyances.

Most likely you will not complete your list of dislikes and hates in one short attempt.  Keep your list safe, and add to it whenever you think of something else that disturbs your quest for a fulfilling inner peace.

And, most importantly, DO NOT let anyone else see this list of the things and people you hate and what you hate about them.

For example, your partner / wife / husband may not be happy to know that you think she / he is as sexually responsive as a wooden plank.  You know what, if I had a significant other / partner / wife like that, then I’d hate that too.  (Trust me, I’d hate it, I’ve been there.)

Most likely, if you’re brutally honest with yourself,  sex will feature heavily on your list of things that aren’t going right for you.  After that, probably your job, your home life, your friends, health, fitness, enjoyment…..

My current list of things I don’t like / hate about my life has 34 things on it, and I’m telling nobody what they are.

But now I have a good idea of what I don’t want, I can start to get what I do want, by any means necessary.  (As long as the means I use are legal, honest, and ethical, I will do whatever it takes to get what I truly need, want, desire, and dream about.)

When you know what you want, and you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.  ~  Jim Rohn

Some say that success is getting what you want.  And that happiness is getting what you need.  All I know is that I’m damn certain what I don’t want in my life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

I would like to go back to California again

 

 

Being Confident

If you confidently believe in yourself, you can do anything.

Sometimes our lives can suck, and having a life filled with problems and pain can leach any self-confidence you ever had right out of you.  But, without self-confidence we are useless in life.  Without self-confidence we become diffident, hesitant, inward-looking, and pretty crappy at everything we might try to do.  Without self-confidence we worry, fret, and fail.

In fact, without self-confidence we may not want to do anything at all, just in case it all goes badly wrong.  Not doing, not turning up for life, sitting alone and lonely in your own space ~ well that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and destroys whatever vestige of confidence you may have had left.

Remember this truth; To be good at what you do, you first have to do.

Self-confidence is a skill, and like any other skill it can be learned, and relearned.  Fear of failure is a skill, stop learning and relearning it.

Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.  ~  Theodore Roosevelt

The road towards true self-confidence has only a few steps along the way.

  1. Know who you are.  Self-awareness is something we should all work at, and the more you work at it, the more you will know your true self.  Hey, I know exactly who I am, my name is Jack Collier.
  2. Be comfortable and happy with who you are ~ and if you’re not happy with yourself, then work at changing yourself to be a better version of you.  Lose that weight, exercise and get fitter, spend time on personal grooming, dress well in clothes that flatter you, go back to school…..  The only person we can really change is ourselves.
  3. Be OK with what you do.  So your job sucks, and the people at work treat you like shit, so look for a better and better-paid job.  You owe no loyalty whatsoever to the people you work for, nor the people you work with.  Don’t just quit your job, instead use your time at work and their facilities as assets in your job-search.  Better still, start working for yourself.  The really successful people in life are never wage-slaves.
  4. Be cool with where you are heading.  You may not even know where you’re going, but go somewhere.  The longest journey begins with the first baby steps, and you won’t know if you’re going in the wrong direction if you’re going nowhere.  I know where I’m going ~ for a start I’m going to leverage this JackCollier7 blog into a best-selling self-improvement book.
  5. Do not ever give up after one failure.  In fact, do not accept failure.  Everybody fails from time to time, mostly because other people aren’t smart enough to see just how good you really are.  JK Rowling, the best selling author of the Harry Potter books, was turned down by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked up the rights to her first manuscript for just £1,500.  Today JK Rowling is worth around $1 billion.
  6. Remember that nobody will believe in you unless you believe in you.  If you don’t believe in yourself, then act like hell and fake self-belief.
  7. Remember that life is filled with opportunities and choices, never stop looking and learning to find the opportunities that enhance your self-belief, self-confidence, self-worth, and self-empowerment.  The more choices you have, the more self-motivated you will become.

You are the Captain of your own ship, and you are the master of your fate, so step up and impress yourself, impress everyone around you, and if they aren’t utterly impressed by the new self-confident you, then move on because it’s their loss, not yours.

Some say that before embarking on anything new, you must first believe that you can do it.  And, that you must honestly ask yourself if whatever you’re going to do will work.  All I know is that I ask myself if it’s going to be worth it.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

always be open, honest, and self-aware

you can’t get to the moon if you don’t try

Be Cool With The Past

You can never get away from where you’ve been.

We cannot change the past, we can only change the ways feel think and feel about the past.  Most people have brutal, painful, and regrettable memories of their past.  Events from the past have created who we are today, and events from the past will affect us today, tomorrow, next week, next year, and maybe until the day we die and beyond…..

Some of us may say that we are OK with the past, that things that happened in our childhood and adolescence do not haunt us at all.  But beware, even if you are not aware of it, everything that you have experienced in the past; good, bad, terrible, traumatic, joyful, boring….. is affecting your sub-conscious today.

Nobody, up to and including you and me, is completely at peace with their past.  We cannot, and should not, forget the past.  Our past creates in us feelings of anxiety, bitterness, disappointment, doubt, guilt, fear, frustration, hurt, regret, rejection, sadness…..  and most of us recall and remember the negatives from our past more than we focus on the positives.

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  ~  Chuck Palahniuk

Some of us try to run away from our past; changing where we live, drifting from one relationship to another, changing jobs, drinking too much, taking drugs, attempting suicide, and metaphorically running away to join the circus. But none of that running away ever works, for wherever we go we take the past with us.  (Even if a suicide attempt fails it will most likely do irreparable damage to the body, mind, and spirit.)

For some of us it’s even worse, because we are also affected by the past of someone who is very close to us, and emotions created by someone else’s past are incredibly difficult to deal with.  This is doubly so if our ‘friend’ hasn’t themselves fully come to terms with their own past.

To be cool with the past we must first be motivated to deal with the past.  We need to understand what really happened in the past, not just some biased half-memories that we use to fuel our negative emotions today.  Try to find out what really happened in the past.  Be willing to talk about and fully explore issues from the past.  Stop pretending that everything from the past is fine, when most likely it isn’t.  Acknowledge your true feelings, whether they be loss, hurt, shame, anger…..

You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed.  ~  Iyanla Vazant.

Depending how deeply the past affects us, we may need help to come to terms with what happened, how it affected us, and who we are today because of the past.  Speaking to family and friends may help, you may need to see your doctor or a therapist, you may talk with your priest or spiritual adviser, you may need something like hypnosis, or you may just need to really meditate, read inspirational books, listen to motivational lectures, or just go for a long walk in the sunshine.

With any luck we may find out that the past is better than we feared.  But, no matter if the past is better or worse than we think we remember, we cannot move on from something we don’t understand and we refuse to accept.

That’s the past for you.  Not only does it come back at the most unexpected and inconvenient times, but it’s set in stone.  ~  Jeffery Deaver.

There may well be things from the past that need resolution.  This might be very difficult, but the longest journey starts with the first baby-step.  Be honest.  Be self-aware.  Be kind with yourself.  Seek to understand yourself.  Be kind and understanding towards others.  And, give yourself time to heal.

A ship does not sail with yesterday’s wind.  ~  Louis L’Amour

Some say that we can become cool with the past by keeping a positive outlook and a strong determination to succeed in finding joy instead of negative emotions.  And, that the past only exists in our memories and imagination.  All I know is that the past isn’t actually here.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

If what you’re doing isn’t working,

then do something else instead.

Practical Realism

True realism is a willingness to reveal and accept the truth.

Scientific studies, and my own bitter experiences, have shown me that one of the character traits necessary for a man / person to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong, stable, and resilient is Realism.

Being too pessimistic is depressing, being too optimistic means that you are easily disappointed and crushed, and being too idealistic is to search for unrealistic perfection.  Being realistic means that you accept the reality of the world as it is, rather than as you imagine it to be.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects the wind to change; the realist adjusts the sails.  ~  William Arthur Ward.

It seems that being realistic tends to mean that you’re also deep, grounded, mindful, compassionate, able to deal with adversity, are not easily disappointed, and recover quickly from whatever shit the world throws your way.

To be realistic is to be self-aware and be fully cognisant of your own wants, needs, desires, and dreams.  Being fully self-aware means that you do not easily fall prey to self-deceit ~ you don’t much lie to yourself, nor to others.

Realistic people also have good situational awareness, they are grounded in the truth of any given situation, seeing things for what they actually are, rather than they would wish them to be.  They have a solid sense of time and place.  They read people easily, and they are not reliant on a specific other person for their happiness.  Most people don’t have your happiness at the top of their agenda.

It is a healthy approach not to expect persons to turn out precisely how you would have wished.  ~  Criss Jami

There are 3.2 billion women in the world, so why should a realistic guy tie their happiness to just one particular uncaring and unavailable woman ~ no matter what.

One key feature of a realistic person is that they will always have some sort of written plan / plans in place to achieve their wants, needs, desires, and dreams.  Realists know that unless they do something then nothing happens.  To live life you first have to show up.  Realists make the very most of any opportunity that comes their way.  Realists take action to make things happen, they do not wait for things to happen to them.  Realists tend to devote enough time and effort to whatever task lies in front of them.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.  ~  Abraham Lincoln.

A realist will also have more free will than any other type of person.  This is because they are prepared to say ‘No’.  Every time you blindly agree with other people means that you have taken away your own free will.

Realists have a particular type of personality ~ they are physical, sceptical, jealous of their own time and space, independent, practical, clear-headed, good in an emergency, objective, non-judgmental, taciturn, and easy going.

But you don’t have to possess all of those character traits to be a realist ~ perhaps they are attributes we should aspire to.

Some say that a realist believes that some things are worth fighting for.  And, that a realist will have a flexible plan for winning their battles.  All I know is that to be a realist means showing up for the fight ~ it means showing up for Life.

Practical Realism 1.01 ~ First Know Yourself.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

remember you’re supposed to be draining the swamp, not fighting with the alligators

How To Be Lucky

Luck is great, but most of Life is hard work.

The hard truth is that we make our own luck.  If you want to be lucky enough to witness a brilliant sunrise, then you have to get yourself out of bed before dawn.  If you want to be lucky enough live your life’s dreams you must first know what you want and then do something to get it.  If you want to really live Life, then show up.

I want a better life, I need to be a better man, I want to live my dreams.  A few short weeks ago I was in the depths of Hell.  Walking the hard road up from yet another rock bottom, these are a Magnificent Seven Truths I have been shown.  These things have helped me find my luck, perhaps they may help you too.

  1. Self-Awareness.  Know yourself.  Be congruent and grounded in your own truth.  Know that you are unique and that you have unique skills and abilities.  Understand your own power.
  2. Know where you want to go.  Chart your course.  Dream your dreams.  Discover what you really need, want, and desire.  Create a vision board, or mind map, or just make a list.  If you don’t know what you want, then Be Brave.  Stop asking others what you should do, and don’t do anything that others may want you to do if it doesn’t match your own truth.  Change I should to I want.
  3. Do Something.  Take some action.  Get off your ass and do something to realise your wants, needs, desires, and dreams, even if it’s just making a plan, or writing a daily journal.  ~  just don’t do things that you don’t need to do.  Change should to could.  If you can get others to do things for you then use their unique skills and talents.  Let the Cosmos work for you too.
  4. Leverage the Magic.  Use your dreams, thoughts, words, and deeds.  Have the best attitude you possibly can.  Nobody likes an impatient, driven, aggressive, competitive, egotistical, unforgiving and manipulative jerk.
  5. Believe in yourself.  Be more congruent.  Make certain that your inner beliefs match your needs, wants, desires, and dreams.  If you don’t believe then you can’t achieve.  If you don’t believe then you certainly will have no luck at all.
  6. Engage the Magic.  Make a start on living your dreams.  Do something positive, even if it’s just a very small thing.  The greatest journey starts with that first baby step.
  7. Be adaptable.  After you have taken some action, look at what happened.  If what you did didn’t get you what you want, then do something else instead.  If you do what you always did, then you will get what you always got. A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Scientifically, and mathematically there is no such thing as luck.  So, if you want to be lucky in life, if you want to take advantage of random chances, if you want the good things to come to you, then work at living your dreams.

The harder I practice, the luckier I get.  ~  Gary Player

Here’s the thing, should I want to, I can win money playing cards.  That isn’t because I’m lucky, it’s because I’ve studied Hoyle, probability theory, and statistics, I can work out odds in my head, and I’m a natural card-counter.  Some say that’s cheating, it certainly isn’t luck.

Try to stay focused.  Keep your eyes on the prize.  Don’t get drawn into fighting the alligators when you really want to be draining the swamp.

Some say that life’s hard and nothing ever goes right for them.  And, that they never have any luck, their whole life is a train wreck.  All I know is that the harder and smarter I try, the luckier I get.

The road goes anywhere and everywhere you want, but you have to get out there and be prepared to enjoy the journey.

Create your own luck, and then ride it hard.

~

jack collier

email:   jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Just Enjoy the Journey

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.

In this modern world most of us are driven by results, we do things in order to achieve a desired outcome.  In this modern world hardly anyone enjoys the journey, what most people want is to get to their destination as quickly as possible.  And yet, psychologists know that what our mind and spirit seek most are experiences, and not results.

In my working life I was extremely results oriented, I always had innumerable written plans to ensure that each of my projects produced a specific outcome, with specific deliverables, on specific future dates.

Consequently I was always in a hurry, impatient, driven, aggressive, competitive, egotistical, and unforgiving.  To a certain extent these character traits are useful in business, but I also carried these characteristics into my personal life.  That may be natural, unavoidable, but it certainly isn’t useful, and it certainly wasn’t the true me.

Aggression only moves in one direction ~ it creates more aggression.  ~  Margaret J.  Wheatley

Nobody sane wants a good friend or partner who is always in a hurry, impatient, driven, aggressive, competitive, egotistical, and unforgiving.  Oh, and I was also very manipulative…..

Because of my conflicted and driven life I was continually unhappy, and continually ill.  I was also continually afraid of failure.  My life was mostly joyless.

I no longer believe that it’s the outcome that matters most to our mind and spirit.  What I believe is that it’s experiences that matter most to us, and not the eventual deliverables.  In other words it’s the journey, and not the destination which teaches us the most.  Like all things in Life this is probably not a yes / no, black / white, male / female thing.

The yin and the yang are opposite forces.  Yet, they exist together in the harmony of a perfect orb.  ~  R. A. Wise

I have come to believe that somewhere in between the yes and the no lies a place where either, none, and both exist simultaneously.  I have come to believe that the past, present, and future exist simultaneously.  And, I have come to believe that it is the journeys that really matter to our body, mind, and spirit ~ not the destinations.

In other words it’s how we live each moment that matters most, not what we eventually achieve.

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.  ~  Robert Breault

Some say that life is somewhere between an experiment and an adventure.  And, that if you follow all the rules, you’ll miss all the fun.  All I know is that nothing is more important than this day, this hour, this minute…

The sun may not always shine, so enjoy it while you can.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

Only I can change my life ~ no one can do it for me.

Life is about change.  Without change, without variety, without some stress in Life, all will stultify and diminish.  Without change there can be no growth, and without growth and development all things will wither away and die.

I will not meddle with that which I cannot mend.  ~  Thomas Fuller

But, as the Serenity prayer tells us, there are some things that we cannot change, some things that have to be accepted, and the wise learn to know the difference.  I can think of a myriad of people, places, and things I cannot change.  In reality no one  can change another person, unless that other absolutely wants to change.  This is why it is mostly pointless trying to talk to most addicts in an effort to make them change their ways.  This is why many relationships, and many marriages, end in failure and recriminations. This is why there are wars.

A while ago I resolved to stop trying to change others and instead decided to work on myself to become a better person.  That is now my lifetime’s project, and it doesn’t always go smoothly.  Sometimes it doesn’t work at all.  Sometimes I make progress, and sometimes I go backwards a couple of steps or more ~ it’s like a man walking into a gale, sometimes he wins and sometimes the storm wins.  In the last few days I think the wind won more than I did.  In the last few days I went with the wind and my negative emotions, and that meant I really staggered in the wrong direction.  In other words I totally fucked-up, again.  For me, going with the flow is usually the wrong choice.

Life will do it’s best to deceive you.  You may get knocked down, but you must always get up again.  The mark of a really great boxer is not that he never gets knocked down.  A really great boxer can get knocked down, but he will always get up again.  And that’s up to and including Mohammed Ali in his all prime and pomp.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.’  ~  Thomas Edison

The English language is filled with wise sayings, allegories, parables, and proverbs.  As you would expect a lot are by Churchill; ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often…’  Then from Scotland we have the allegory of Robert the Bruce and the spider, which gave us the saying; ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again…’  But we also have almost the converse of that saying…

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  ~  Albert Einstein.

The Goddess knows I have been there often enough ~ every time I took a drink I expected it to be different from the last time, and it never was.  But, somehow I usually got away with it.

Back in my illustrious career in banking I once went into a meeting on Madison Avenue with no ideas and nothing but blank pieces of paper in my briefcase.   I had got good and drunk in the Plaza the night before, so I both looked and felt far from my very my best.  But I stood up in front of the board of the world’s biggest advertising agency and tried just one more time.  I told them not what they wanted to hear, but what I wanted to make happen.  It worked.  The thing is I didn’t give up, and I didn’t try to change anything except myself.

After that almost debacle I resolved to make a big change by giving up banking for good.  It was the wrong change ~ I should have given up booze for good.  Back then I didn’t have enough serenity within me to even think about being sober for life.

Right now, today, all I try to do is be the best Jack Collier I can be, sober.  That is difficult enough for anyone.  I realise that life is difficult and painful.  I know that the causes of my problems and pain are my own cravings, lusts, and the blaming others for my faults.  I now know that I can’t change others and I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change what I do, and how I react to people places, and events.

I know that the warrior’s road to freedom from continual distress, pain, and suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, spirit…  and that’s a hard road to walk in honour, honesty, and truth.  I try to always walk that road, and often I fail.  But, at least I try, and perhaps not one in ten men even do that.

The world and the sky is ours if we want it enough.

~

jack collier
jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Yoga for Men

Yoga is a type of meditation ~ and done properly it’s difficult.

Calling this post Yoga for Men isn’t as sexist or as misogynistic as you may think.  When I was a much younger chap, far more cynical, and much less worldly-wise, I used to think yoga was a bit ‘strange’.  In my mind yoga was something that girls did, and perhaps men who were a bit metrosexual.  Now that I’ve grown up a bit I realise that yoga can be a strenuous and difficult workout ~ the kind of workout that hurts while you’re doing it and makes you ache afterwards.

It turns out that there are lots of reasons why more men should regularly practice yoga.  Some say that yoga strengthens your immune system and relieves stress.  And, that regular yoga improves muscle tone, flexibility, agility, posture, stamina, and core strength.  All I know is that regular yoga exercises and nurtures my body, mind, and spirit.  Some also say that yoga will give you a better sex life.

Just in case you don’t know, yoga involves holding postures, and holding some of these postures for any length of time can be damn difficult.  Even the few, (simple), postures I use require a great deal of strength, balance, and concentration.  Because holding these postures take a lot of strength and stamina, your muscles become more toned and develop greater power and endurance.

Yoga also helps with proper breathing, better posture, better balance, better concentration, better digestion, and increased mindfulness and serenity.   Regular and difficult yoga improves the way you look, stand, walk, and talk.  I have been told, by a very close friend, that regular yoga also greatly improves one’s sex life, and increases the pleasure you can give to your partner.  Also, some yoga poses work as great sex positions and increase the intensity of the female orgasm.  Allegedly, it’s possible for women to have an orgasm just from doing yoga.  Who knew?

So, these are the yoga positions I use regularly, and if I have the names wrong… well I’m not a yoga instructor.

The Tree.  This classical, impressive, and elegant position promotes strength and balance in your feet, ankles, legs, and core.  Like all yoga positions I’ve tried it also aids concentration, calms your breathing, and improves your grasp of mindfulness.  Don’t worry too much if at first you keep losing your balance, what’s probably happening is that you’ve lost your mental focus.  The tree pose puts all your weight on one leg at a time, but the balance, poise, and elegance has to come from the whole body.

~

Downward Facing Dog.  Allegedly, this is one of those yoga poses that’s also a great sexual position ~ I can see that.  This position throws a lot of weight on the upper body, wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest.  It stretches the whole of the back of your legs and  body ~ your spine, arms, shoulders, ankles, calves, and hamstrings.  For me, unless I’m doing it wrong, it also strengthens my knees.

~

The Bridge.  This position is especially designed to strengthen your pelvic floor, (and backside), which is good for all kinds of reasons, up to and including sex.  The bridge position builds strength in your core and lower body ~ personally I can really feel this in my lower abdomen.  This is another of those yoga positions which is also a fabulous sexual position ~ or so I’m told.  When I do this, I keep my back straight and my belly flat ~ I have no idea if that’s a good idea or not.

~

The Plank.  I find this pose tremendously difficult, not because I don’t know how to do it, but because it calls for a tremendous amount of strength.  Done properly the entirety of one’s body weight is brought into play to build core body strength, exercise the arms and shoulders, and increase one’s fortitude.  There are three basic variations of the plank, and the easiest is to rest on your knees rather than stretch out your whole body and rest on your toes.  The second easiest is to support your upper body on your forearms, while the hardest of all is to be in a push-up position with all one’s weight on your toes and hands.  Right now, I can hold this position for one minute only ~ which is a bit pathetic really.

~

The Warrior.  This should be so easy, trust me, it isn’t.  The warrior pose stretches and strengthens the legs and core muscles of the body.  For me it also works the arms and shoulders.  More than that, this is the one position that should be so easy that I want to do it properly and elegantly.  Where that gets difficult is the whole being straight, having one’s belly and backside tight, steadiness and ease thing.  The lady in the picture looks a bit wimpy because her right arm is dropping.

Right now I only use these five positions, and the list above is in the order I do this stuff.  I hold each position for as long as I can, and that varies from 5 minutes per position, to less than a minute, depending on the pose and how I’m feeling that day.  And, again depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll probably run through all five positions a couple or maybe even three times.

However, there are stacks more great yoga positions, and if you really want to learn about yoga, then I should strongly suggest that you take a proper class, there will be one near you.  There are even a bunch of good online yoga classes.  (I took one actual class at my local gym, once, and never went back ~ but that’s just me).  Who knows, you may find yourself alongside some fit, supple, young women.  Who will probably make you feel totally inadequate.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Walking Meditation

Through meditation the higher self is experienced.

True health and fitness can only be experienced and enjoyed when the body, mind, and spirit are all in balance.  You cannot be healthy in one part of your being, if you are not healthy in all.

You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.  ~  Juvenal

To be truly fit and healthy one must exercise, take care of, and nurture all aspects of our being.  Although physical health is deeply connected to mental and emotional health, I believe there is little point in just ‘hitting the gym’ because all that is likely to do is strengthen our body at the expense of our mind and spirit.  I firmly believe that to balance our body, mind, and soul we need to incorporate an integrated health regime into the totality of our lives.

When people tell me they can’t afford to join a gym, I tell them to go outside; planet Earth is a gym and we’re already members.  Walk, run, climb, sweat, and enjoy all of the natural wonder that is available to you.  ~  Steve Maraboli.

One of the activities I use to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual parts of my being is to get out into the sunshine and fresh air for a couple of hours brisk walk every day.  Walking is excellent exercise, but more than that I can also practice walking meditation.

When I was much younger I thought that meditation was weird, nonsensical, even ‘girly’.  But back then I also thought that prayer, self-discovery, spirituality, and yoga were also distinctly odd.  These days I embrace all of these good practices ~ although I still don’t consciously pray to a ‘God’.  With maturity I have begun to understand that these are methods by which I can know myself and become an emotionally healthy man.  To be truly healthy we all need to get outdoors for at least an hour every day.  We all need to exercise our own mind and spirit if we are going to escape from the fortress prison we have built for ourselves.

If there was a mature and peaceful woodland nearby I would take my daily walks there, enjoying forest bathing, what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku.  This is a meditative and spiritual activity that is known to improve one’s mindfulness.  Trees are well-known to possess healing powers.

However, in the here and now of my life it is more appropriate that I take my daily walk by the sea, under the open and  ever-changing sky.  Both the sea and the clouds are peaceful, they help me to experience serenity and mindfulness.  The clouds fire my imagination.  The sea is a primeval and primordial force of nature, a part of the Mother Goddess to which all things return at the end of days.

Walking meditation is an easy thing to do ~ providing one is not distracted by everyday activities.  I don’t use my cell-phone on my meditative walks, I don’t use my camera when I’m in a meditative state, I walk alone, and I don’t talk with anyone ~ as a matter of fact I don’t even notice other people.  Walking meditation is a peaceful part of my life where I can be in touch with the more enlightened part of myself.  Time and space cease to exist in the normal way, the world becomes fully open for me to explore in my mind, I become open to appreciate all things with acceptance and understanding.

The secret to walking meditation is to get outside, on your own, and walk in nature for a while ~ an hour or more is good.  Empty your mind of all immediate concerns.  But most of all, walk.

Even if you have to walk fast for 30 minutes, five days a week, by all means do so.  Never make excuses to why you don’t have time to work out.  Your body deserves to enjoy the taste of a good health.  Never settle for less.  ~  Edmond Mbiaka.

Obviously, just taking a walk each day isn’t enough exercise to keep me fit and healthy.  Walking does little for strength and mobility.  For that I practice yoga.  I used to believe that yoga was the sole preserve of incredibly fit and supple young women, but then I learned that yoga is also for men like me.  Done properly, yoga will improve your health and fitness in body, mind, and spirit.  Done properly, yoga for men hurts a little bit.  If it feels right, you can incorporate yoga into your daily walk.

We can experience so much, appreciate so much, and understand so much, if we are brave enough to open our minds to the wonders of the Cosmos.

I enjoin you; get outside into the fresh air, and walk.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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