Saturday, September 11, 2010

120 - End

It's taken this long for me to figure out what my final post was going to be. One would think that it would be easy as I've already done this exercise blog thing before with PCP—but it wasn't. In the end, I decided to just go with the one thing that continues to resonate with me even after all was said and done.

When Patrick contacted me about joining in the inaugural session of the KFB program, there were many dreams that floated through my head. I dreamed of how much more weight I would lose. I dreamed of how ripped my body would be. I dreamed of how my eating habits would get better. And I dreamed of all the things I would say on this blog. After all, KFB just seemed to be a continuation of PCP.

The reality was that nothing turned out as I dreamed. I lost a little weight, I gained a little weight, so in the end I pretty much evened out. My body really didn't end up very ripped at all—especially those pesky abs, but admittedly this program doesn't seem to be designed for that result. My eaten habits didn't change much. Then again I have become a pretty healthy eater, although I do love my sweets and I was cheating quite a bit on KFB. And I really had trouble blogging, even though I made many posts. Nothing seemed fresh or original, just repeats from PCP.

Needless to say, there were moments where I was quite disheartened. My dreams just weren't coming true and I was feeling every bit a failure to the program. It was depressing.

Then came my two-week vacation at Pennsic. Between my sickness, the Sangha and my encounters with the mantis, everything just clicked and I realized I hadn't failed at all—I just wasn't looking at the path that I was on.

I had already taken the path to wellness a year ago when I joined the Peak Condition Project. I lost weight, I gained body definition, and I learned how to eat healthier. The KFB program had many of the same elements to it, but for those of us who had been through PCP, it was pretty much old hat.

Now I'm not saying that it was "old hat" as though it were a bad thing—heavens no! However, it was a comfortable thing. We had been through all this before, and as Patrick said in a later email, sometimes the magic and excitement that was had the first time around wears off during the second.

Then came the moment when I had that amazing, dawning realization. I wasn't on that journey this time! I wasn't trying to recover and revitalize my body from all the damage I had caused it over the years. No. This journey was all about changing the inside.

There are many ways to try and verbally explain this concept. Unfortunately, they are only words and will fall short of any true explanation. Honestly, I don't think there is any vocabulary that could be used to truly describe it, so for now I'll just use Patrick's favorite term, "being mindful".

Having no thing to do. Having no where to be. I am in the moment—in the "now". I am where I need to be, doing what needs to be done—whether it is sitting and watching a mantis, or meditating alone or a sangha, or cooking dinner for a hungry camp, or having to throw up—I am mindful. I am at peace. And it's taken me almost a month to come up with those feeble words to express that much.

It has been one incredible year following Patrick on this amazing journey—from PCP to KFB. Who knows what'll happen next? Who cares! The goal is never the destination. The goal is in the journey that takes you there. Thanks Patrick, Team Tiger, and all the other KFBers for being a part of this journey. It has been my pleasure to share it with all of you.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

92 - Trilogy

It was extraordinary! We had just returned from putting most of camp back into our group's storage unit. Each of us then turned our attentions to our personal tents as we began to take them down and started packing the vehicles.

With claw hammer in hand, I started pulling up the stakes that held down my tent. Suddenly I noticed something small and green struggling in the grass. It was the mantis once again, this time making a final visit upon me.

I put my hand down to the little creature and it climbed right into my palm. It sat there tilting its head left, then right as it folding its forelegs back into praying position. It was another bittersweet moment as I said farewell to my frequent visitor. This time I couldn't put him on my tent, as it would be coming down shortly. I decided to place him on the trunk of a nearby tree so he would be out of harm's way, what with all the people and cars moving about.

At that moment, everyone stopped what they were doing in order to take pictures and say goodbye to our unofficial camp mascot. Then it was back to work, clearing up and packing the last of our equipment. Eventually it was time for us to leave the campground, to leave our annual "home away from home", and head back to the modern world that awaited us.

As I drove off the grass and onto the road, I looked at the tree as I past it. The mantis was still sitting where I left him. When everyone had lined their cars up behind mine, we headed towards the exit of the campground one final time. Pennsic was over for another year.

Friday, August 13, 2010

91 - Vacation

Today is the last full day of my vacation, for tomorrow I pack and return home. Despite the rocky start I had at the beginning, it's turned out to be a rather enjoyable time.

I do have to admit that my KFB exercises really weren't up to standards, but I did the best that I could with the environment that surrounded me, which includes all the things that I forgot and left home. And I think I did okay on my diet, although the scale at home will provide the ultimate answer to that.

It's time to enjoy Pennsic one last time.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

90 - Sangha

Today was suppose to be the last day our little Sangha would be able to meet, as our impromptu Zen Buddhist mentor was going back home early tomorrow morning. Unfortunately the thunderstorm and torrential downpour last night raised a little havoc in my camp and I needed to stay and help everyone dry out from leaking tents. I don't know if the others gathered in Runestone Park or not as everything around Pennsic was wet. However, I will say that I'm going to miss our morning group.

Today is also technically the last day of KFB. Yes, it is the Day 90 benchmark. I'll still be blogging here for a bit as there are still two more days of vacation for me and I think I would prefer to be home to wrap this all up.

This is also a bittersweet moment, because this chapter will soon be ending for this online Sangha. I'm going to miss all those blog entries from my Tiger Team; that little bit of personal connection with everyone. It's been great hanging with you guys!

Well, I should be getting to get back to camp. There are still wet things that need to be dried. Thankfully the rain has not done anything with the temperature at all. It's still just as hot and humid. That will at least help with the drying part.

Later dudes!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

89 - Routine

Every morning this week has been a blessing. The first I do when I wake up is lay on my cot for a bit before actually getting getting up. Allowing my body to rise with the sun and waiting for it to gear up for the day is so much energizing than trying to force it to get moving in the dark after it's been startled awake by the alarm of a clock. I eventually exit my tent somewhere around 7:00am.

There are a number of people in my group who like to dress up in medieval armor and do battle, which always occurs around 10 in the morning. I like make sure they are all well-caffinated and fed before they leave, so I start making breakfast and coffee for them. The food and drink usually hot and ready by the time the rest of my camp-mates crawl out of their tents, usually about 8:00am.

About the time they are sitting down and eating, I grab my rug and start walking to Runestone Park to meet up with the others of the impromptu Sangha the sprung up as a result of the meditation class on Sunday. It is sort of led by the Zen Buddhist practioner we met at the class. Actually, it's more like he guides the rest of us.

We start the session with some stretches before getting into sitting position. Once we are all settled and ready, he rings a bell and we all meditate for about 15 to 20 minutes, at which point he rings the bell again to signal the end. Then he initiates a discussion period. Sometimes it's just about what we're feeling. Sometimes it's about what we did the day prior or what we're going to do that current day. Sometimes it's a little more indepth about Zen Buddhism, or different meditation styles, or what they do at his temple.

I am thoroughly enjoying these gatherings! Between the meditation that Patrick has had us doing with our KFB routines and the moments here at Pennsic, I have been feeling totally relaxed and chill and so very present in the moment. Nothing has stressed me out during this War.

After the morning's meditation, I then head back with a quick stop at the produce stand to buy some more fruits and veggies. Then it's another slow walk back to camp where I'll make breakfast for myself, totally energized and ready for the day.

Every moment has truly been a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

88 - Moments

I know it may sound weird, but part of me is thankful for the heat and humidity. Weather like this really curbs any desire to eat, especially things that are sweet and heavy on the stomach, like ice cream or chocolate. Grapes and apples have been my munchies of choice. Mmmmm!

Of course, it curbs any desire to exercise too. I'm trying the fudge the KFB routines as best as possible, but some things are just hard to do when I don't have the necessary items at hand—especially the lack of ping-pong balls—so, I've been doing a lot of "shadow" work.

I have been standing out in the sun with little more than shorts on, doing my KFB exercises and sweating up a storm, and feeling totally alive and absolutely fantastic. Meanwhile, my campmates have been sitting under the carport, out of the sun, sweating up a storm, and complaining all the while.

You know, I think I'd rather be me. I'm enjoying the moment, not rueing it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

87 - Sequel

Although it was another hot and humid day, there was a nice breeze that was blowing through. In an attempt to take full advantage of the wind, I decided to raise the end wall of the carport so it could blow through te common area. As I raised the wall, a small green object started to fall of it. I quickly stuck out my hand and caught it as it fell. I looked down at my palm and had to smile. The praying mantis was back!

I'm pretty sure it was the same mantis. The corner of my tent and the corner of the carport were right next to each other, so it really wasn't a great distance for the little insect to travel. On the other hand, it was really amazing that he was still around. I had never seen a praying mantis in the wild before this vacation. Now I was visited by the same one twice!

As before, I let him climb onto my tent so he would be someplace safe. And as before, I spent much time during the day just sitting and watching it. It was a beautiful day.