death (2)


Meditate on Your Death

Since I was a young kid, 7 or 8 years old, I have been contemplating death.  

What?! 

Allow me to explain.  

Shortly after we moved to NJ from Michigan, one of our neighborhood buddies from Michigan died of a brain aneurysm. 

He was only slightly older than me.  

But it had such an impact on me that I obsessed over death for quite a few years.  

These periods of intro-flection would come and go and still do.  

Do I sit in the corner and fear death?  No, I am more curious about it at this point.  

One thing that it has allowed me to do though is to take chances and to play as big as I can possibly play in life.  

I keep track of my weeks gone by and weeks left, literally, with two buckets of marbles in my home office.  

Morbid?  Maybe.

I see it as helping to live more and to live better.  

‘Meditation on death should be performed daily….’ -Yamamoto Tsunetomo

 

Maybe young Kyle was on to something.

 

Be unconventional – Kyle

 

1- The Fat Shredder is coming!  Realistically it’ll probably start at some point in the backside of May and run until the 4th of July weekend.  Here’s all you have to do for now: start thinking of your teammates. Each team will have at least a member, non-member and one woman (teams of 3).  It’s gonna be epic and just what we all need at that time:) 

 

2-I am opening the doors to the second Panda Challenge, which will be starting within the next 3 weeks.  The first 12 ‘Panda’s’ are crushing it and dare I say, all 12 are on track to hit their 45-day goals! Yes, I only take 12 because of the high level of Coaching each client receives.  5 of the spots are already taken from people that just missed the cut for the first Panda Challenge. If you’d like to find out more info and at least throw your name in the ring for me to decide if you’re a good fit, then go here: https://hillsborough.newellstrength.com/step_1




Enjoy the Power and Beauty of Your Youth

When I was a young boy, I used to contemplate life and death a lot.

 

Probably more than most people do throughout their entire life.  It had gotten so overwhelming at one point that I would cry every single day after school and before bed.  I could not get my mind around the miniscule time I had here on earth.

 

And that was when I was 9 or so years old.  Every couple of years, I go through a similar phase.  I don’t cry over death anymore but I do cry over the periods of life that are passing me by.  I cry over the happy memories that I have in my life.  Heck, even writing that is making me cry while I am writing this.

 

I am 35-years old.  Life is going by like a bullet train.  Devon was telling me about a presentation she attended yesterday in which the presenter said that a recent study showed that people were only present in the moment 53% of the time.  Funny, I had recently read about the same study online and thought to myself: Phewwwy!

 

First of all, that is an impossible study to undertake.  People will always give the answer that they think is the most appropriate and they will project (like they all do on FB) the perfect life.  Second, I know how much I struggle BEING present and this is something I know and study a lot.

 

All of the major religions had at their core the ability to be able to be in the present moment.  So simple, yet, so hard.

 

If you are within a decade of my age, then this will be relevant to you.

 

It feels like only yesterday that I was in high school, playing basketball.  I remember the last game I ever played in high school in which I was carried by my friends off the court.  I have that photo at my parent’s house somewhere.  A moment that will always be frozen in time in my mind.  I often visualize that scene in the early mornings before visualizing my future.

 

I think back to growing up in my old neighborhood, the one in which my parents still live.  I think about all the stick-ball games we played with that core group of boys.  I think about playing Man-Hunt late into the night.  I think about carving my initials with my best friend at the time into the freshly laid side-walk (which is still there by the way).

 

Those were endless summers and times of innocence.

 

I reminisce about the last summer of baseball I ever played. I was 16-years old.  I didn’t give a hoot about playing high school baseball, but I didn’t want to give up the memories of playing for the township little league and senior league.  I was very aware of playing in the state tournament, trying to make it to regionals and the fact that my ‘little league’ career would soon be a thing of memory.  Yes, I cried when we lost that final game.

 

Man, this is tough to write (a wise man recently told me that if you can’t cry, you can’t truly write).

 

It seems like just last week that I was about to graduate high school and then I did graduate.  But it didn’t matter because I had one last summer to spend with my boys.  We went to watch American Pie, which was timely like you wouldn’t believe.  That represented ‘us’.  I still have a special place in my heart and spirit for that movie because it instantly transports me to that period of my life.

 

Fast forward a few years.  I was now in college.  I hated the first semester.  I was homesick as hell.  But I knew it was just another transition in life and that life was but a series of deaths.  Once one period died off, there was no going back.

 

And like the blink of an eye, I found myself giving my farewell senior speech to my fraternity.  Yup, you guessed it, I cried, uncontrollably.  It went by way to fast and I fell in love with that place.

 

I remember having a pizza date with Leo (my grandfather) that first fall out of college, being incredibly depressed because I couldn’t figure out the purpose of life on earth.  He always gave me his ear to listen to my philosophical questions.  Life continued to move forward.

 

I entered the bodybuilding world.  I think back to how much I learned about my will during that time.  I pushed my body and mind further than I even knew was possible.  It wasn’t the contests that were special to me, it was celebrating with my friends and family.  It was the journey of self-realization.  I went back to the well a few years ago to share the experience with Devon.  Those contests will always hold special memories in my heart.  That was a part of becoming who I AM.

 

I can transport myself to the day that I proposed to Devon on the river bank just a mile from where we now live. I was shaking like a leaf in the wind, so scared of that next phase of my life.  Yup, I cried and could hardly get the words out of my mouth, ‘Will you marry me?’

 

Thank God she said yes!  I remember fighting back the tears at our wedding.  I wanted to cry so badly because I was so happy but I didn’t.  I wanted to cry when I was dancing with my mom because of nostalgia but I didn’t.  I should have.

 

I remember when my brother Shane asked me to speak at his wedding (I guess what he really asked me was to be the best man lol).  I don’t even remember what I said, but I remember FEELING what I said.  It wasn’t a humorous speech; it was one of emotion.  We were no longer boys growing up, we were now men, all of us going our own ways.  Yup, cried uncontrollably again.

 

I teleport myself to when I ruptured both patellar tendons, 2 and half years apart.  Man, that first time around was one of despair.  I had no reference point.  I had no one to ask advice of.  I was down and out and then I fought back.  I allowed myself to feel self-pity for 2 days and then I was onto one of the greatest self-discovery lessons of my life.  With the help of Devon, I overcame the self-doubt of wondering if my leg would ever be normal again.  Then, as noted above, I competed.  Yes, it was to share the moment with Devon, but it was also so signify putting that horrific injury in the past, putting it in the graveyard even though there were many silver linings to it.

 

And then, 2 years later, it happened again, the exact same damn injury, this time with Devon at my basketball game in attendance.  Yes, the physical pain was off the charts but I could deal with that. We turned down away the ambulance at that YMCA on that fall night. I knew what it was.  Devon knew what it was.  I remember making it up to the bedroom that night, stopping off at the hallway bathroom.  I was hoping Devon was out of ear shot because I looked myself in the mirror and yes, I cried again.  I couldn’t go through that again.  It wasn’t fair.  She heard me, she came to my rescue once again.

 

I think back to when I made the decision to leave teaching.  Oh, dear God was that probably the hardest decision of my life.  I had security at a place I loved working with kids I loved.  But life was calling me in a different direction.  I agonized over that decision.  I remember crying on multiple occasions; while writing my letter to the superintendent, while sitting in my principal’s office breaking the news to him that it was time for me to move on.  I remember my last day teaching, the kids coming up to hug me.  I was a bumbling mess.  Life moved on.

 

I often think about how bizarre my first thought was when I picked up our first baby, Mateena, from the breeder.  Yes, I was ecstatic.  But my main thought was:  These next 12 or so years are going to go by way to fast, like the blink of an eye.  She is laying here next to me, 4 years in already.

 

I frequently think about the day that Braxton was born.  I knew I would be emotional but this time I made the decision ahead of time that I wouldn’t hold back like I did at my wedding.  I didn’t plan it, but I did know I would be emotional.  I remember seeing the crown of his head and weeping tears of joy.  The nurse laughed and commented, ‘Kyle is crying.  Daddy is so happy!’  And I was and still AM.

 

Now he is 17 months old.  Time fly’s boy.

 

I remember at the end of that year at our holiday team party for Newell Strength.  I wasn’t expecting anything from the team but then one of them handed me a large frame that was wrapped in wrapping paper.  I didn’t even finish opening it before the tears started.

 

Because I saw the picture on the poster.  It was of the PIT, the gym that I had built in my parent’s basement with the words in caption ‘success is deciding to simply begin’.  It made me FEEL all the times I wanted to give up.  All the times I got so burnt out that I decided my dream wasn’t worth it.  It was too much to bear.  It would have been easier to just find a comfort zone and stay there.  But something wouldn’t let me quit.

 

The point of all this is not to show you how emotional I can be.

 

No, the point is hopefully for you to realize that life is racing by us.  Time waits for no man.  Right now, you have the power and beauty of youth.  If you are in your mid-20’s, you are at the beginning of it.  If you are in your mid-40’s, you are on the back side of it but you still go it.  Life will go on.  You will one day no longer have the energy and physical strength and glowing skin that you now have.

 

Memories are being made, breath by breath.  Stop thinking about tomorrow or next week.  Life is NOW.  The moments of today and right now are ones that you will one day look back upon in favor and reverence and say, ‘I remember when…’.

 

Yes, those moments are right this second.  Live them.  Feel them.  Love them and cherish them.  Experience them and yes, cry about them.  What’s your story going to BE?