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A Happiness KEY: Be naked, exposed and vulnerable.

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In the heat of battle at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, NY, USA. Me (4th ranked) and competitor (3rd placed) striking a “Triceps Pose”. You couldn’t get more naked than this on stage, under bright lights for an audience you can’t see (because of the blinding lights). They say public speaking is human beings greatest fear. I disagree. Try getting up on stage in no more than your undies and communicate NON-VERBALLY … & MOVE an audience with your body, not your words … through the expression of the nude sculptured human form in motion. A fusion of art & science … in motion. A synergy of energy. Now, this is the epitome of being naked (not quite but close), exposed and vulnerable…. in the physical form.

A wise friend told me once a long time ago that if you love life, life will love you back.

I have seen them, so perhaps have you – people who seem to have been freshly scrubbed or newly minted. They have taut skins and great smiles. How do they do it?

They do it partly through increased respect for their body, spirit/soul, heart and mind.

If you see one of these people, ask them their secret and then … get in touch with me and we can tell it to the world. Their secret would be worth more than a pot of gold!

Well, after twenty five years of helping people, help themselves work towards a better version of themselves, I believe a key factor is in better energy management and also that these lucky people have better experience of happiness, daily.

Managing energy better does not only refer to raw materials taken in and outputs expanded from the human machine that is the human body, it also refers to our state of mind and state of heart and spirit.

It seems that many people are of the belief that constantly ‘being happy’ is desired and so they spend all of their day choosing and stressing about being happy. I believe that striving to constantly be in a state of happiness takes you further and further away from the elusive happiness. They do so to such an extent that the drive to be constantly happy leads to unhappiness and an empty feeling.

Happy moments with two long-time members of my gym – in my gym of all ages: 70s, 60s, 50s and I was in my 30s then.
The first gym that I ever stepped foot in, in my late teens. A gym that I said I would own one day. A gym that was me and I was it. A gym that I loved.
Was a place … that was always happy members came … a place where everybody knew your name … a place where it was ok to just be YOU.
I accepted ALL – peoples’ good and bad … it was not a place to be judged.
That was and is not my role. My role was to simply provide the environment and leadership required to encourage members to flourish.
Because they believed. They believed in what I was trying to do. For ALL to benefit. Remember: BELIEF ===> FAITH ===>HOPE.
The vision of my gym: the way gyms should be around the world. There should be my gym in every suburb in the country .. in the world. To bring each community closer … to bring each suburb together … to bring each state together … and the people of the country together. As ONE. This is SYNERGISM: the ability to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, through effective communication and ‘know-how’ of combining seemingly disparate elements. Great Leaders do this – WELL. Very similar to building a World-Class Physique where all the individual muscle groups ‘flow’ together to produce a masterpiece of beauty (balance & symmetry). For all to appreciate. Like an orchestra.

Why is that so, I ask?

Well, it is because, a human being is also an emotional and spiritual being. I believe that to be truly human, one needs to be able to feel ALL emotions, not just being happy all the time. A human being needs to feel emotions including those that are unpleasant – like anger, hatred or sadness amongst others. One needs to FEEL the whole gamut of emotions in one’s life to be truly closer to happiness.

So, in essence you have to experience UNHAPPINESS to experiencing growth towards happiness in your life. There is no other way. This is a key to happiness.

There is a catch though, as (like anything worthwhile getting), it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get closer to genuine happiness in your life, you need to strip bare (be honest and brave to oneself); be naked, expose oneself to the world and allow oneself to be vulnerable.

This is a difficult task and for some people, impossible.

Being vulnerable is liberating, it is a genuine taste of freedom. Being vulnerable is truth … it is peace. Being vulnerable is harmony and symmetry … being vulnerable is beauty.

I believe part of the reason people don’t allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones is that we’re all sort of brainwashed to some extent, that ‘getting in touch’ with your inner negative feelings is not recommended and frowned upon.

There is a high need and practise in modern day society to reason and provide an objective and logical explanation to everything, without any feeling. That is the key phrase – “without any feeling’. It seems that people think that they must express everything like this – giving well thought out, logical, step by step reasons for a situation without any empathy and feeling.

You see it everywhere, where people frown upon or look at you with surprise when you voice your disagreement, disgust, anger, frustration and so forth because you actually allowed yourself to experience that emotion.

Oh no, that’s not civilized, not good behaviour … you need ‘anger management’ help. A load of c%ap!

And why is this so?

Well, I have told my wife this many times over the years – that the lack of ‘feeling’ is increasingly a sure sign that peoples’ spiritual lives being poverty-stricken.

Believe. Believe in something. Belong to a religion, any religion. Why? Because most Religions AMPLIFY Faith.
This is why human beings invented religion. It is why we have spiritual religions and cultural religions and corporate religions and sporting religions. Because Religion gives our faith a little support when it needs it.
Religion at its best is a sort of mantra, a subtle but consistent reminder that belief is ok … and that faith is the way to get where you’re going.
Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.

Basically, one cannot give and share what one does not have in the first place. In other words, we cannot mirror, cannot radiate the tenderness (of God/positive energy) because people have not experienced it themselves. Sad, but true.

If you believe in God, in a God, please understand one thing: I believe that God expects us to show all of our feelings to him – happy and unhappy feelings, everything. Nothing is off-limits!

However, I believe that before a man or a woman can really FEEL his or her own feelings and be able to express them fully, you have to go back to your past and deal with any hurt or anger. Ask for forgiveness and ask God (and your God) for your forgiveness.

There are few certainties in life – death and taxes are two of them. A third one and one that is relevant to my message in this blog is that God does not change, God is a certainty.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Because of this, if you believe in him and you believe in his healing power, you can let go. You can forgive and be forgiven for your past, because it can be UNDONE and off-loaded on to God forever, releasing the shackels you’ve put yourself in.

This is what is meant by being naked.

Allowing you to feel empowered again in your own skin – to be unarmoured … to come out from the wall of invulnerability on those deeply sensitive spots that hold you back from truly feeling the whole spectrum of feelings.

So, being naked, being totally exposed, ironically, provides you with the ultimate armour: increased spiritual connectedness.

A man or woman who has embraced this heightened spirituality, invites wonderful healing of painful memories formed in his or her past. This healing, in turn is the key to be more caring, more empathetic outward expressions (including unpleasant ones too).

Increased awareness of your spiritual part to your whole being allows you to let down the walls of invulnerability, allows you to drop the façade’. It allows the TRUE SELF to be set free, the TRUE YOU.

A great thinker once said that the most difficult thing for a person to do in his or her lifetime is to BE HIM or HERSELF, in a world that is constantly trying to make you somebody else.

So, building your spiritual self allows you to be more of who you really are, not somebody else, not a fake you. You get to love yourself more which ultimately shows in how you show love to others (outwardly), because you are now naked and exposed and vulnerable.

This vulnerability allows you to experience not only the happy feelings but also the unhappy feelings or the undesirable feelings and be more complete.

You see, to me happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have (others may not think so). All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

Happiness is also about being content, a sub-set of happiness.

Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU.
Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness.
If religion comprises rules you follow, FAITH is demonstrated by the actions you take.
Of course it is difficult. Be the Leader that you are. In your life.

So, if your goal is to be more happy (and almost every human being has this goal) then to be more happy, learn to feel more. Learn to be unhappy occasionally (when appropriate), don’t be afraid to. It is human to feel these less-than-desired emotions. Learn to be more empathetic. This will take time, if you’re not wired that way. That’s ok. Be patient.

Believe. You will get there. Compassionate, trusting and caring – all elements of empathy.

To get closer to the elusive happiness – be naked (and honest with your spiritual self). Be real and authentic. Be You. No one else in the world can play that role better than you can …. The role of YOU.

Here’s to your happiness (and unhappiness)!

 

Until next time, Ahoy!!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & tips on being closer to happiness

The symbol for Christianity – the Fish.
Do you have a symbol that you like, that resonates with you… with who you think you are.
I love the DOT ===>”.” I’ll write a future blog on this point (pun intended)
What is yours?

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Keep on keeping on.

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Life, what is it?

How do you define what ‘life’ is? What does it mean to you when you think or hear people say ‘live your life?

To keep things simple, life to me, is just like building and hanging on to muscle (after almost a quarter of a decade of working with it).

It – Life, depends heavily on two principles – simplicity and continuity.

You can read about this analogy in an earlier blog. What I would like to elaborate on, however, is Life and what it means. People view life through different lens. I believe, life – all life, is intended to have purpose.

From my interactions with and observations of people over the last four decades of my existence on this planet, it seems that many people live their lives almost as if they worship it. Yep, they put it up on an alter – they exalt it to almost Godly status!

The question I ask is, why?

Is it in the genes or has it been instilled in us by our environment.

Perhaps we all too easily become worshipers of life. Life itself, is likened to that of an idol. It seems that all the marbles are put in to the one basket called life and there is nothing after life. People seem to be very busy, rushing around, trying to squeeze in as much as they can while they can – experiences, places to visit, ticking off ‘bucket lists’ and promotional ladders at work.

Most people just seem to focus on what they can get out of ‘this life’. Why? I just don’t get why this insatiable desire for more, more, more …

The thing is that if we put all our eggs in one basket – this basket called life, I think that death or the mere mention of death would most likely be an unwanted trespasser, an uninvited purposeless intruder. Probably part of the reason why a lot of modern day society revolves around avoiding the question of or conversation of death and dying. So much so, that the aged population get segregated from society in to over-hyped ‘aged care’ facilities, separated and out of sight from the rest of society. Nobody in modern society wants to be reminded of death, no, it is life that is celebrated!

This is a sad state of society, not only for the seemingly unwanted aged put aside, in a patient room, waiting to die. But, it is also a sad state for those that are left behind, those in society that would benefit greatly by having the aged pass on knowledge and wealth of experience through the long lost art of story-telling.

It would benefit the younger generation immensely. If only, people had a little more patience.

Sad indeed.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t live life and live it to the full. No, but to exalt anything – another person, an object, rock bands, a job, a position and including even life itself, into the ‘be all and end all’ takes a critical ingredient out of the picture. Do you know what this critical ingredient is?

It is God.

Worshipping anything, even life, squeezes God out of the picture, out of the equation of a truly successful life. It becomes a life that is purposeless, something that is an increasing symptom of many people in today’s very fast, busy worlds.

They are growing more distant from God and appear to be soul-less as they are searching for him in all the wrong places. There is an hollowness in their soul. Even though they have more social media connections, they have less genuine relationships. What is missing is their spirituality.

Remember, that it is your relationship with God – your God, in your life that enables you to make sense out of the countless nonsense out there. Having God in your equation, your life gives you hope, hope that even when sense and purpose seem to escape you at times, one day you will understand.

It is true, that you should live your life as if it were your last in this world.

But, understand that worshipping it to the status of an idol is not needed if you believe. Believe that Jesus Christ was the resurrection and the life. Believing in him and God allows you to live (even when your physical body dies from this world).

So, live and believe in all your heart and soul. This belief will mean that you will never die, that you will live forever in to the next life. Believe that your life now, this life, is only a small part of your life in the time continuum – that you, me, we are all living out days of our eternal life.

Now.

Keep it simple. There is no end to life, there is only continuity and simplicity, which as I mentioned at the start is the two fundamental principles that life and funnily enough – muscle is built on.

All you need to do is believe and be redeemed by our saviour, the son of God – Jesus Christ.

Close your eyes. Breathe. Keep on keeping on …. Don’t stop believin’.

Amen.

 

Until next time,

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Seek, Ask and Knock on the door.

A student seeks answers summons courage to ask the question. To seek and ask is humility in practise. With faith and hard work, opportunity presents a door to knock on. A great teacher helps his/her student step through the door with desire, not fear. Vv.

A student seeks answers summons courage to ask the question.
To seek and ask is humility in practise. With faith and hard work, opportunity presents a door to knock on.
A great teacher helps his/her student step through the door with desire, not fear.
Vv.

Seek and ye shall find; ask and ye shall receive” as it says in the Gospel.

But how many of us really ask questions? How many of us seek out help and show our vulnerability? How many of us knock at the door of opportunity when it presents itself?

We should seek, ask and knock on the door or doors that come across in life as we can never be hundred percent certain what we will find on the other side of the door. This can be scary predicament for many but we can choose to look at it only through two possibilities:

  • Fear
  • Desire

I would prefer to look at it through the latter option, wouldn’t you?

To ask could be said to be adopting a life lived with an ‘open hand’ rather than one that is closed. To ask opens you up to vulnerability as you choose to depend on someone other than yourself. To ask is humility in practise.

I always tell my children that they should never be afraid to ask a question but I also tell them that knowing all the answers is not as important as asking the right question!

As individuals mature in to adults, it seems that the ability and need to ask lessens and people lose their curiosity and child-like abilities to ask questions. Maybe it is partly due to not wanting to ‘look like a fool’ asking ‘silly questions’. But, like I said asking is very humbling.

To seek and especially to ask could likely also mean:

  • I failed.
  • I came up short.
  • I’m not prepared.
  • I don’t know.
  • I ran out.
  • I’m not sure.
  • I don’t understand.
  • I didn’t care.
  • I need more information.
  • I was wrong.
  • I didn’t listen.
  • I forgot.
  • I didn’t ship.

You get the picture.

But it is better to ask than not to ask. For one thing, it shows you care enough to ask and I think that is a good trait to have.

There is a dilemma though – from a Christian-point-of-view, Christianity and it’s teachings could be seen as no more than an excellent system that provides answers to most, if not all of life’s questions. However, to admit any short-comings is to be less than a good Christian, wouldn’t it?

That is not fair.

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be. With my guidance

Brad seeked; Brad asked the right questions; Brad knocked on the doors of opportunity towards the person he imagined himself to be.
With my guidance

Not asking and not seeking may serve you in the short term but could prove very risky in the long term, especially if you unknowingly shut out God.

Claiming to be wise, you become a fool. Individuals who exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship man-made creations close doors that they may have been destined to knock on.

We should always keep in mind that our relationship with God is one of vulnerable dependence. One which assumes a need relationship with him – a hand-to-mouth spiritual existence.

So, we, as Christians should never stop seeking answers and never stop asking. To ask is to be on the same side of the track with God. It is important to not only stay on the track with God but more importantly stay on the same side of the track. This is what it means to have faith – unwavering faith in God and the answers he provides.

Increasingly, modern society seeks and rushes to fill every felt wants and needs. Increasingly society steals away the souls of individuals in order to sell it back at a price. What a way to learn false answers. Life is too short not to ask questions, the right questions.

The most important question is to ask yourself what your relationship with Jesus and with God is. When you get that right and rekindle it, you then find the strength to seek the right path, ask the right questions and knock on the right doors.

Opportunity sometimes comes clothed in an over-coat.

Keep seeking, keep asking and don’t be afraid to knock on the doors (opportunities) that come your way in life, knowing that you can always depend on your God for answers to your life’s questions. You will discover that answers will come to you in a diversity which reflects the mystery of God himself.

There is one thing I am absolutely certain of and that is: he (God) will be making certain that those who seek and ask questions will be finding and that doors will be opened to you.

 

Until next time,

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain - Phil Waugh performing a set of squats. Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success. His humility in asking questions allowed him to achieve goals of better balance and symmetry, amongst other things. Vv.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh performing a set of squats.
Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.
His humility in asking questions allowed him to achieve goals of better balance and symmetry, amongst other things.
Vv.

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