Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Fit for Your Life

New Year's ... fitness facilities are bursting at the seams this time of year; just like those that have spent the holiday season over-indulging in all things of a high caloric value.

Beyond the phenomenon of yo-yo dieting, the influence of media (movies, music videos, and magazines) playing on peoples insecurities and accentuating vanity; is there just cause to attend a gym or indulge in some sort of ongoing physical fitness program?

Absolutely! (would be my answer).. At one point I worked as a personal fitness trainer. While undergoing the training for certification, it was cited regarding the general population currently presenting at gyms and fitness studios looking for coaching, that they were some 20% more "deconditioned" than say 10 or 15 years previous. This is directly attributable to automation, less walking, less physical ("manual labour") and a vastly more sedentary lifestyle (for many).

As a consequence people have developed a myriad of physical/mechanical dysfunction; often which needs correcting in order to then, exercise with out injury. There are some muscle groups that are tight and weakened... muscle imbalances that put unnatural strain on joints, wide spread obesity (which goes far beyond aesthetics ) it is an issue for wellness, and for regular (activities of daily living - ADL's) - carry an extra 10 fifteen pounds around your midsection and then recognize how increasingly difficult & uncomfortable it becomes, just to bend and tie up some shoes.

So I would be an advocate of fitness (as an aspect of overall wellness) and maintaining function. (Not a new idea... the concept of functional fitness has already made it's way throughout the industry)..

Still, a lack of it, compromises quality of life... as aspects of living and independence (at the more extreme end of the spectrum) decline; there is a corresponding lessening of ones wellness, and ability to enjoy life..

So "training" is not just for the elite athletes, dancers and underwear models. As my recent experience includes a fair bit of travel, consider the physicality of schlepping bags through airport terminals, through towns, on & off buses and trains. One soon realizes it requires a considerable fitness level. Of course it also makes a case for efficient packing; but you can only minimize so far.

Try riding public transit, when the seats are full and you must stand the entire trip. The driver is on the accelerator on the brake, on back on the accelerator... to maintain yourself in "an upright position" and hang on to rails or hand-hold straps - might not be the decathlon; but it still makes some demands on you physicality.  Some of the decline in fitness is attributed to age, when it more truthfully should be attributed to inactivity/immobility. Taken to the extreme it begins to manifest in seniors as more falls (lack of stability, balance and flexibility - all of which can be maintained and/or restored) fractures (decreased bone density can also be a consequence of inactivity)..

As nothing happens in isolation within the human being... physical wellness naturally effects emotional, spiritual well-being.... In fact many of the underlying causes of various physical maladies pre-exist at "unseen" levels - where until recently, they were ignored in the western world, until physical symptoms present .. then they are addressed at just the level of the physical.

Fortunately more holistic models are becoming more widely accepted and practiced. At the very least people can become more proactive with their overall wellness - given the cornucopia of modalities available today.

My coaching is to be laid upon a foundation comprised of the pillars of personal continued mental, emotion, spiritual and physical development/maintenance.. I wouldn't presume to coach people in the pursuit of wellness, if I weren't doing my utmost to maintain my own.

I have most certainly experienced imbalances and suffered the consequences on various or all levels of my being. I have now nearly resolved some long term low back pain and a extremely painful flare up of plantar fasciitis (the latter spanning more than a year. When every step visits a pain response somewhere on the spectrum between an ever-present dull ache and agony, everything from mood to enthusiasm is effected. Relief is such a blessing! I am thankful for a body that is able to communicate so much to me.. when I pay attention. I am fortunate that mine, still seems to possess the resilience, to counteract some long standing and/or intermittent abuse and neglect.

I have reignited a Qi Gong practice (through a home study program for the time being) it's only been 4 or 5 weeks but I can already perceive the development... Any of the eastern arts (tai chi, Qi gong, yoga etc.) are worth considering ... the benefits are many - again one should seek to practice within their current capacity.. An honouring of the body (right where it's at - is more important - than trying to force it to perform beyond it's readiness). I intend to revisit and revise my diet; which overall is pretty good ... so just a case of reinforcing what is working, & making some shifts elsewhere. I also am beginning to pay attention to some simple yoga moves; as flexibility/stability/balance currently present as factors, with plenty of room for potential development..

If you enjoy hiking in the woods or mountains.... it is not realistic to be inactive all winter and then thrust yourself back into the riggers of a hike come spring or summer. What you could do "last year" or the last time you visited that mountain trail, is irrelevant if you are not maintaining all year round..

If you enjoy gardening ... I don't have to tell you of the demands of bending, squatting, lunging, lifting, pulling etc. Physiotherapists, chiropractors etc. offices do a brisk business at those times of year when the yard or land require renewed vigour and physical fitness; has been allowed to lie fallow along with the fields.

This is not meant to be a blazing indictment of blame, shame guilt! Quite the contrary, it is an invitation; to consider wellness at all levels of being, a sacred privilege and one of the most worthwhile pursuits one can undergo. Is the suggested approach, "selfish" and therefore self-indulgent and lacking in any intrinsic altruism or virtue? I would submit yes and no. It is necessarily self-focused - while at the same time, if one has interest in being in service to a cause outside of themselves; they most certainly will need the requisite energy, stamina, endurance, mental/emotional resilience and spiritual fortitude, to continue to show up.....

Everyday of a given life, might call upon you to "run the event" of your life...  some energy, attention and focus ... along with some forethought, can help ensure you're not caught "flat-footed.."

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Transformation - "In Name Only?"

"That which we call a rose... By any other name would smell as sweet." "Tis but thy name that is my enemy." "Thou art thyself, though not a Montague."

Various lines written by William Shakespeare that Romeo spoke to Juliet. Words that convey Shakespeare's belief that a name means very little; it is the individual that defines themselves.

I ponder the implications as I have now, during my time on the planet, been tagged with three different surnames. I was born "Robert Draper" - was placed for adoption where I was then given the name "Robert John Mason..." and I just recently completed all the necessary paper work, to legally have my name changed, to Robert John O'Neill.

Does it make any difference? I certainly have considered that for myself, from many different vantage points over the years. I've often felt the transition from birth name to adopted family name was rather arbitrary. I mean, I could have gone to any family where I would have assumed then, their name. So unless there was some soul aligned agreement, that I would go to this family in particular - the name itself might otherwise have been, rather random. Spending most of my life without any idea of my ancestral origins, I never really felt much of any affiliation with Canada, beyond,, it's where I was born..

It's not that easy to articulate the connection I have become more acquainted with since learning of my Irish ancestry and some of the history of the "O'Neill" clan. By that I mean, it's not that it's emotionally overwhelming, or that I lack the vocabulary; it's that it would be challenging to be succinct. Brevity is not my strong suit anyway, but on the theme of my heritage, I could go on forever.

Even without being steeped in it ... there is a familiarity and soul knowing for me throughout Ireland, but powerfully and significantly, in the North..

While there are many aspects of soul-evolution that are not reliant on external labels of any ilk. To be able to claim my name has been, continues to be, and I suspect will always remain, very empowering.

The previous "identify" was in my estimation, a kin to one nation attempting to "assimilate" another. It was super-imposed, literally, imposed upon me. It's like spiritual/soul colonization.

In my book, "What Goes Around Comes Around" there are some 800 questions .. that could be utilized to determine what one has believed, where those beliefs came from, whether they still hold them as true and if not, what do they now believe. I can assure you, I have subject myself extensively, to this line of questioning, through innumerable different processes.

So this "name change" I do not treat lightly! It is no whim, it is no, the grass is always greener scenario (though admittedly the grass is pretty green in Ireland!!) Nobody but me, knows what I have gone through in my life, to arrive at this place and this decision. And no one, but NO ONE , will ever deny me my name, my voice and my connection. The name whether of itself or not, represents my choice in "who I am," what I believe & how I show up in the world.

I sat in the cue to have my papers processed and when I considered that sooner than later ... there will no longer be a "Robert Mason.." tears welled up in my eyes - for the love of God, do you realize what that guy went through in order for Robert O'Neill to live on?!!! I am deeply present, to my long line of ancestors that have, and continue to support, this journey and I am profoundly grateful..

The absolute best of Robert Mason will be carried forward and live on through Robert O'Neill .. the rest will be released and/or transformed. I have the legacy of my clan behind me and to live up to. To walk a good road, will be both a suitable epitaph for Robert Mason, and that due, Robert O'Neill.

God if it be your will long may he live to serve!!

Monday, 8 January 2018

You're On!

What are you waiting for
Did you suppose
I would come
Searching for you?

That I would
Somehow elicit 
From your
Habituated stasis..

A burning bush
Cannot appear
Where there doesn't
A poised  & kindled inferno 

What will it take
To break through
Your inertia?
Summon your faith
To move
The mountain
That is you...

Pray tell 
Would you seek
Outside yourself
"In"- spiration

I may fan 
The flames
Fuel sources
May present
But not until
While it is you
That must 
Build the fire

It is you
That must court me
Spend less energy
Hoisting another hero
Instead conjure
Within yourself
Veracity, Enthusiasm, Creative obsession

The seeds 
Of an infinite harvest
Lie as dormant potential
At your feet
You have not
Been forsaken
You deny
Your very destiny... 

R.  O'Neill (January  08, 2017)

Sunday, 7 January 2018

More Questions - Less Answers

Whether through grace or good fortune; happenstance, coincidence, fate, destiny, luck of the draw, lady luck, luck of the Irish, dumb luck, beginner's luck or no such luck:

I'm still here!

I wonder if those for whom life is by many accounts cut short; pass over, knowing what life is about?

I suppose I ponder that as a direct result of having numerous opportunities to travel around the sun and even still - I don't have all the answers! If anything I have more questions.

I believe that the coaching/guiding direction I am currently taking my life's work will be facilitated by my ability to teach others; to ask a better question.

Then it's up to them to answer it, perhaps with another question - and so it goes. "Stuck" you say, I won't tell you why, I'll coax it out of you. I simply don't have all the answers - for you or for me.  You do have all your own answers.

Let's face it, I might more appropriately be associated with the "Fool on the Hill" than be able to deliver a "Sermon on the Mount."

My ability to serve as a coach/guide/mentor doesn't negate my continued need to subject myself to ongoing questioning conjured through the wielding of the Sword of Truth.

I stumbled up that feck'n thing quite sometime ago; much the same way those characters in the cartoons discover the rake hidden in the overgrown grass - "right between the eyes!'

I suppose you could say I've been serving an apprenticeship with it ever since. I don't claim mastery -but I assure and guarantee an ongoing refinement that is second to precious few. For the romanticists in the world, you can forget about being a "truth-seeker" & not have the sword insist on being directed at you, if you would presume to carry it..

So as is frequently the case after I have engaged in some genuine soul-searching & authentic sharing with others (which incidentally I consider a form of prayer); it most certainly spawns further prayer to follow - an answer was provided to me; where I wasn't even looking for it.

I grabbed an "Active Living Guide" - course calendar for the New Year from the Recreation Centre I had been working out at.

In bold lettering on the cover it proclaims:

"I belong here, learning skills"

Thank God for that!

Even if just for today I gratefully receive that answer!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Something of Duality (or nothing at all)

Here it is then
I'm writing something
Before I end up 
Writing Nothing at all...

Which doesn't mean
What is written
Though Something
May amount 
To Nothing

Even taking into consideration 
I am taking this on
At the moment 
With my "non-dominant" hand
Won't ensure the contents
Are Something of significance

So then Something 
Could still be 
Considered Nothing
& better than Nothing

As well as 
Something to speak of
Nothing of the sort

Could be that
Something is up
While just as easily
It's discovered
Nothing's doing

But Something 
Has got to be done
Nothing changes 
Nothing changes

Nothing from nothing
Leaves Nothing
Isn't that

You got Nothing 
Out of this
You say? 

Isn't that
Awareness of clarity

It's just part of
I have taken on.

It guarantees Nothing
Perhaps that is
Exactly what it delivered!

Unless of course
There was Something
After all.

In which case
No need to thank me
Think Nothing of it
It was Nothing at all...

R. O'Neill (January 4, 2018)

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Love Story

What is it 
You see
When you look in 
The mirror

Are you suspended 
In reverent awe?
How often 
(if ever)
Do you consider
The vast miracle
That which
Is reflected
For you 
(By you)

What is it
You project
This image 
Of you?
God's unique 

The gaze of
The sneer of 

The stained glass
That once 
Held you spell-bound
Can be replicated
You cannot

The intricacy 
Of your sacred
Is unfathomable
Divine geometry
Bound by
And comprised
Of Love

That which 
Created you
Loves you 
With an Infinite

Why would
You love
The miraculous 
Of you
Any less?

To experience
The Love 
Of the Divine
You must 
Allow Love 
To be expressed
Through you

You will 
Create and proliferate
Defensive personality mechanisms
If you subject 
Yourself to the pain
Of denying 
Love to be 

You are 
The expression
Of God's Love

To direct 
At yourself
Diminishes the world
(Your world)
From the experience
Of the sanctuary
Of loving connection

Love for self
The Love of God
While it expresses
Love for God
Through you

Love for God
Is being Love
Blesses the lover
With the receiving
Of God's Love
While reflecting
To God
Your unique Love 

R. O'Neill (January 02. 2018)