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The River (A Short Story)

river

I was dead set on scouring the Earth, desperately searching… For what? I wasn’t quite sure.

All I knew was that I was alone. I yearned for meaning, for connection, for something to wake me up out of my shallow pursuits. Though at the time, these yearnings felt like vague apparitions on the outer boundaries of my consciousness.

I had glimpsed what I was looking for, yet it was fleeting; too fleeting to understand. The glimpses in some way involved the river.

The river was mysterious. And presumably perilous. I feared it, though I didn’t want to admit it. It wasn’t the fear of the river itself, per say, but my fear of surrendering to the mercy of its power.

When I felt particularly courageous, I would dip into the river. But every time I touched it, I would quickly jump back, afraid that the current would carry me away.

The river was an intriguing enigma. I began to analyze it, attempting to understand all of its workings intellectually. These calculations were solely focused on the risks of the river and the threats it posed to me. Risk rumination without trust equates to crushing doubt. I felt paralyzed.

I wanted to explore. Driven by rugged stubbornness, I set out. After dragging myself through forests, up mountains and over vast fields, I realized that I was landlocked, surrounded by rivers on all sides.

On the bank of one river (they could’ve all been the same river for all I know); I decided to turn my focus inward. I asked myself questions like “What is my purpose here? Where am I trying to go? What do I want?”

I honestly didn’t know.

Then, delving deeper, I asked the question, “Who am I?”

This baffled me even more. I had never seriously entertained such a fundamental inquiry. Being next to a calm part of the river, I decided to take a look at my reflection in the water. What I saw astonished me. “I’m a dolphin?!”

I gasped.

Here I was, a dolphin, dragging myself across the land, literally killing myself for fear of letting go and allowing the river to carry me. “Absolute madness,” I thought.

It was insane, too insane to even take seriously. I laughed at the utter ridiculousness of my self-imposed suffering. With that epiphany, that simple shift of awareness, an enormous weight was lifted from me. Then, trading my hesitation for trust, I dove into the river.

It was nothing like the monster I made it out to be. Sure, the current was strong in some parts, but I’m a dolphin!

I could’ve swum upstream if I wanted. However, I decided to get out of my own way for the very first time in my life. I trusted. I flowed. Soon enough, the path of the river led to the ocean.

My world opened up, limitless. Other dolphins greeted me with love, ushering me into this new yet intensely familiar place.

“Home,” I thought to myself. “This feels like home.”

“Now the journey really begins…”
 

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Nothing is Impossible (A Very Short Story)

diving board short story

As a tribute to my father’s birthday today, I’d like to share a (very) short story from my book Momentous about a magical moment we shared. Happy Birthday Dad!


Nothing is Impossible

I looked up at the diving board. It was a proud blue piece of art that stood eight feet above the water.

The sun was shining brightly overhead as I observed a young man bounce off of the beautiful blue plank and execute a graceful swan dive, landing in the deep pool with a small splash.

Looking up at my dad, I curiously asked, “Is it possible to do a double backflip off of the diving board?”

Without hesitation, he looked at me with a reassuring smile and confidently replied, “Nothing is impossible.”

A sense of empowerment rippled through my consciousness. It was a feeling so profound that it transcends time and space. And I feel it as I type this.

I didn’t do a double-back flip that day, or any day for that matter (except on a trampoline once). Yet that moment created a life-altering, paradigm shift within me.

The real takeaway is not the act, but the message it conveys… The only limitations you have are those you place upon yourself.


You can get your hands on Momentous by clicking the image below:

 

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Lifting the Dead

This post was inspired by Deadlift Essentials, a great program by my friend Isaac Payne. The deadlift is my favorite exercise (as you’ll soon find out), but it must be done properly. Isaac provides immensely helpful tips on perfecting your deadlift form. Check it out HERE. And in case you’re wondering, I have no monetary involvement with the product. I just like to support good people and good information.

Bar_bending

Once upon a time (at the gym)…

The straight silver bar stared back at me. Its machine-grooved, stainless steel body beckoned my hands as it floated through the center of two vertical stacks of formidable black plates.

There is a feeling like none other when you really that know you’re pushing your boundaries. Fear lies inside of the walls of comfort zones. And outside, is the world of unbridled exhilaration. I knew it was time for me to break on through.

This physical embodiment of resistance lay poised before me, challenging me, while I shook the last shreds of doubt out of my body.

I leaned down and gave a comforting rub to my right knee. It acts up occasionally. Never pain, but just a slight sensation of feeling “off.” I gave my knee the tender encouragement it needed to be up to the task.

I then stepped to my 325 pound opponent; my 147.418 kilogram friend; my iron-constructed learning experience.

With my feet directly below my hips, I carefully wiggled them into position. The bar became a cross-section, cutting the view of my shoes in half as I glanced down. The superimposition looked like a neutral smile, almost as if saying “Let’s see what you got.”

Now focusing on my ankles, I subtly bounced on them, gauging their readiness. They eagerly awaited the challenge.

Keeping my spine as straight and taut as the bar beneath me, I hinged at my hips and bent my knees. My robust hands confidently slid against the bumpy pattern. Clenching the iron, my fingers slowly closed into a vice-grip.

The word “power” rang in my mind, as if it came from some primal part of me.

Another subtle bounce, this time probing my entire lower body. My feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs and hips all felt like a loaded spring. A small smirk emerged from my face.

I tightened my grip, flexing my fully extended arms and tucked my shoulders down my posterior chain. My entire back contracted like a suit of armor.

Inhaling deeply, I drew strength into every cell of my body.

I braced my abdomen with tremendous force, like I was about to get shot with a cannon ball at point-blank range.

My grip climaxed, irradiating strength through my entire body. My glutes fired, like the thrusters of a rocket ship. Blast off.

I exhaled every ounce of fear left in my being. The bar levitated slowly off the ground. As it passed my knees, my stalwart hip-hinge exploded the weight upwards, ending with the bar kissing my upper thighs as I stood up straight.

Every muscle in my body was contracted as I stood in mighty satisfaction, holding 325 pounds in my hands.

“Power.” That unyielding mantra again rose to prominence in my consciousness. Energy animated my body, enlivening the totality of my existence.

I paused, savoring the moment; admiring the magnificent strength capacity of the human body. (And to think, I would be doing this with 10 more pounds next week.)

Then I hinged at the hip again, lowering the weight and letting the plates gently smack the hard rubber floor.

I released my right foot from its suction-like grip and pivoted to grab my water bottle.

As I sauntered past the plates, I lightly tapped the congregation to whisper a heart-pounding “Thank you.”


 

PS – That’s an excerpt from my book Momentous: A Compilation of Micro Stories Acting as Glimpses of the Eternal Magic of Life’s Moments. Check that out too if you enjoyed reading this.


 

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The Shirters (A Short Story)

 

Assorted colos

 

Once upon a manifestation of infinite possibility, people always wore shirts.

Because people always wore shirts, everyone defined themselves by the color of the shirt they wore.

There were people dressed in every color shirt imaginable, spanning the spectrum of the sense of sight.

Eventually, those who wore white shirts (the “white shirters”) began to claim that their color shirt was more “pure” than the rest. They despised anyone who wore a different color shirt. This hatred bubbled up until the white shirters started attacking non-white shirters. The white shirters held the fearful belief that any other color shirt was a threat to the pureness of their white shirts.

In their first offensive, the white shirters formed a large group and marched towards the home of some blue shirters. In a frenzy of senseless malice, the white shirters started killing blue shirters left and right. The blue shirters, feeling terrorized, organized into their own group and retaliated. But they lost the battle.

Hearing the news, every color of shirters divided into their own tight-knit group. Each group armed themselves, ready for any outside attack.

The red shirters, however, decided on a more proactive strategy. Trying to beat the white shirters at their own game, they launched an attack on the white shirters. They also began to attack everyone else who wasn’t a red shirter. In doing this, they became the very force that they were fighting against and caused even more chaos.

Though damaged by the red shirters’ attack, the white shirters continued their campaign. Next, they attacked the green shirters.

Storming into the village of the green shirters, they came across an elder green shirter.

In a condescending tone, the white shirters collectively chanted, “We, the pure white shirters, have come to eliminate you pathetic green shirters.”

The elder, scanning the group of white shirters with a curiously tilted head, said, “I’m not a green shirter. It’s just the color of the shirt I’m wearing, not who I am.”

The white shirters were perplexed by this assertion. They couldn’t fathom the concept that a person’s identity does not lie within the color of their shirt.

“I see a green shirt! So you’re a green shirter!” Exclaimed one of the more rowdy white shirters, and the whole group erupted in angry agreement. In a fit of blind fury, they killed the elder green shirter.

The next village to pillage on the white shirters’ treacherous campaign was that of the black shirters.

One black shirter, knowing that the white shirters’ rampaging approach was imminent, had a sudden revelation…

As the white shirters arrived, the black shirter removed the black shirt. The shirtless individual then walked up to the herd of white shirters, who were frozen in stupefied surprise by the sight. Suspenseful silence permeated the air.

In fearful confusion, the head white shirter barked “What color shirter are you?”

With arms wide open, the individual cheerfully replied, “I’m not wearing a shirt.”

The white shirters couldn’t comprehend this. Both themselves and everyone they ever saw had worn a shirt their entire lives, and dutifully classified themselves by its color.

In a wave of realization, one brave white shirter removed their white shirt. The others gasped in horror as the individual walked up to the other. They greeted one another with a hesitant handshake that transformed into a wholehearted hug.

Seeing the two together, both shirtless, the group couldn’t help but realize that everyone shares the same essence underneath their shirts.

Gradually, more and more white shirters joined in and removed their shirts. Some resisted at first, but eventually the whole group was shirtless.

One individual, who had been a staunch white shirter his whole life, looked at the awe-inspiring scene and pondered to himself…

“How silly a concept, to believe that I am nothing but the color of my shirt. And how ridiculously stupid it is to kill others that I view as different based on such a silly belief.”

Seeing how they had caused so much harm and hardship by separating themselves, all of the various shirters eventually removed their shirts; their layer of false identity.

They realized how pointless it was to divide themselves into opposing groups. Now united as one, all vowed to cooperate with one another and co-create a more harmonious reality together.

The beginning…