I’ve collected more than 200 conversations with my spirit guide, Angel and started publishing here. But then I decided they needed their own space — their own domain. To follow down that trail, visit Angel-Inside.com.
So much has happened in only 30 days
I finished my first “30 Days of Discipline” last Monday and had one of the most productive 4 weeks on record.
- I made a commitment.
- I did the work.
- I wrote.
- I listened.
- I learned.
And I discovered that I could do what I set out to do, even when I didn’t feel well — especially then. I didn’t get the 6-pack I wanted, but I know how to get there: diet and more conditioning. I’m reading “Body of a Spartan” again to figure out how to get an intense workout beginning where I am now. “30 Days” gave me a solid foundation to work from and for that I am grateful.
I had a great time at the BBQ
The Bold and Determined BBQ was an epic adventure.
I bought 3 quartz crystal singing bowls
The sample lead to a Kindle download and in a few days, I had read the whole thing. I learned how singing, toning and playing instruments, especially the quartz crystal and rare antique metal Tibetan singing bowls helped people recover from trauma and illness. I remember hearing these bowls being played at events around San Francisco but never found the need to own some of my own. The book invited me to investigate the powerful joy begging to be played.
Time to dig in
By the end of the book, I decided to get a few bowls to play with. I found a company called Crystal Tones listed in the resources section of the book. I decided to get a set of 3 frosted quartz bowls in the following pitches and diameters: D (12″) / A (10″) / A# (10″). They are large, heavy, resonant and modern looking.
The bowls arrived safely packed in sturdy blocks of styrofoam placed inside even larger boxes filled with more styrofoam peanuts. Styrofoam is not exactly “eco-friendly” but the bowls arrived in perfect shape and I’ve kept the blocks for later in case I need to move the bowls and keep them safe. And the sound? I wasn’t expecting them to be so easy to play and yet I have so much to learn as I play them with the included mallets, suede covered wands and one of my experiments using a bright orange lacrosse ball attached to a string.
Aum: the sounds they make
Ringing a single bowl is mesmerizing. Adding a second and third bowl produces a throbbing beat that energizes the body while calming it the mind at the same time. I have played with them everyday since I got them and they remind me of being a kid again in the kitchen, banging on my mom’s metal bowls and pans laid out across the floor. While that wasn’t really music, it was fun. Now imagine music emanating from large quartz crystal oscillators producing pure resonant tones and a beat frequency that arises from the interval or space between each pitch. It’s a powerful source of audible ecstasy. And I’ve got lots to learn as I continue to explore.
I got through the 30 Days
I managed to do the things I committed to doing when I started 30DoD, in spite of getting sick last week.
I’ve upgraded my internal operating system (iOS?) to a version that can take on more tasks each day and remain creative for longer periods of time. I can start something knowing I will come back to it day after day, again and again, noticing the progress until completion occurs. The discipline that I gained in the past 30 days is being transferred to all sort of things beyond fitness. As my body gets stronger and more reliable, my mind becomes more dependable and calm.
- The body calms the mind.
- The mind engages the body.
It’s a virtuous circle!
- Body of a Spartan — I am reading this again starting from where I am now.
- Angel Inside —I’m posting conversations I’ve had with my spirit guide, Angel.
- Assessing diet and rest — Reviewing intermittent fasting (IF), macros and proper rest.
- Networking with the NWR — I’m going to the Las Vegas Seminar (February 11, 2017)
- Taking that first step… and the next… and the next until I get what I want, in spite of not knowing every move up front.
- Imagining I’m writing something meant for me to read. No formulas. No overthinking. Just write the story I’d want to read. Done!
My Bold and Determined BBQ adventure began with a 7 hour drive south to Marina del Rey, a waterfront development in Los Angeles. I checked to my hotel located next to the park at 9 PM and then walked to the park to scope out the location of the BBQ the next day. I slept well, woke up, had breakfast and went to the BBQ. Then I came back to the hotel and had dinner after doing some laps in the outdoor pool, slept soundly and was back on the road at 4 AM Sunday morning to beat the traffic and heavy storms back in San Francisco.
Total Time in LA = 32 hours.
So…was it worth it?
Absolutely! Gauging the response I saw on the B&D Forum, I expected to see no more than 20 people at the BBQ. I was happy to see more than 50 guys talking under a large picnic pavilion in Burton Chace Park, a green and clean park surrounded by boats tied up along the harbor’s edge.
Lesson Learned: Many people read your posts. A few post comments.
The weather was cool and sunny, the sky was filled with billowing white clouds that came and went. A smoking-hot charcoal grill cooked up hot dogs, burgers, steaks and sausages. There was enough food to feed a small army. Good thing. The ronin that showed up were hungry, but not just for food.
They were hungry for insight.
Some came with a self-mde business already up and running while others had an idea but weren’t sure if they should bet the farm and quit their day jobs to dive in to the deep end. Some knew their purpose while others hadn’t yet found it. We were a motley crew and yet I was struck by the passion and determination each member brought to the BBQ.
The energy was strong and continuous.
Having that many guys together in an outdoor picnic area for several hours would normally have created something loud and boisterous after a few rounds were downed.
But this wasn’t about getting drunk.
This was about sharing ideas and insights. This was about finding ways to get to the next level. The lack of alcohol had a unexpected effect: the attention I saw being paid to one another was intense and transforming. I rarely see men able to hold their attention on another person for more than 30 seconds without consulting a smartphone or looking away while generally maintaining an interest in whatever is being said.
At this meetup, the men I saw and spoke with were ON. They knew why they had come and why they were there. Some travelled from places like Canada and North Carolina to be there. For a BBQ! And everyone had some skin in the game that day, not just in terms of the cost to get there but in terms of something greater: an unwavering attention and interest in what was being said.
I have to say, I was impressed.
I’m thinking back to how it started for me just a few weeks earlier. I saw Nick Kelly (Victor Pride) on YouTube, answering questions he got from viewers the day before and his style was just raw, authentic and unedited. I was drawn in by the way he talked and the way he just said whatever he wanted even if it wasn’t perfect. After a few rounds, he refined his message until it was clear, persuasive and actionable. He was speaking iteratively, like the radical and continuously-improving Agile software development method.
“Speaking your way to the truth” began to take root.
I saw what being authentic and vulnerable looked like. I saw how determined he was to get his message out no matter what. By calling his YouTube video podcast a “Full Color Godcast” he almost alienated me.
That word: God.
So loaded. And so provocative. I don’t have a problem with him speaking from his god consciousness. I get it and I’m all for it. But the title gave me pause, that is until I watched him speak and listened to what he was talking about. After a few minutes, I realized: he gets me.
The title is polarizing
You either like it or you don’t, which seems to be a dominant theme with him. You either like his books, or you don’t. You either like his attitude, or you don’t. There is no middle ground. No grey area. He is in sharp contrast to the people and hyper-liberal social community I’ve been living in. I’m used to people changing their opinion mid-sentence if they sense some objection coming up from others nearby. Many people shy away from being honest and authentic at the risk of offending others.
It’s political correctness taken to an odious endpoint.
But Nick is different.
Nick Kelly gets to say whatever he wants without first checking to see who’s in the room. I wasn’t sure you could do that without being seen as offensive or worse — insensitive. And yet I’m not offended. Instead, I’m intrigued. I wonder…
Can I tell my story this way?
That invitation to attend the BBQ, to come to LA for the sole purpose of spending time with a group of fellow ronin I didn’t know, felt like destiny. I answered it with a strong, resounding “Yes!” I questioned my decision a few times in the weeks that unfolded. I knew that my indecision was just a general anxiety around meeting new people. It wasn’t the kind of fear I needed to act on. I wouldn’t know for sure unless I made the trip and followed through. 30 Days of Discipline helped me to notice and respond to this fear.
I came, I listened and I learned.
The saying — “I came and I saw” — would be apt here but what I found went beyond sight. I learned some things about myself by meeting and listening to a few of the other men who responded to the call.
I learned that although we’re different we are drawn to similar things:
- Being self-made and self-paid.
- Learning as you go.
- Not trying to be perfect before you take action.
- Speaking your way to the truth, instead of waiting for things to be perfect.
There is a treasure in what Nick has discovered and captured in his books New World Ronin and 30 Days of Discipline. And there is a movement he’s sparked into being. From what I witnessed, the NWR is something much more than a book. It’s becoming a brotherhood of like-minded entrepreneurs who listen to and support one another.
As we find purpose, publish our work, find the discipline and become a role model to ourselves and others, this first BBQ will undoubtedly grow into something alive and well.
And that’s something we all can be proud of.
I’ve wanted to practice recording my voice to get more comfortable speaking into a microphone with more confidence and less fear. The recording I made (below) is the unedited session I recorded not knowing how it would turn out. I listened to what I recorded and typed a written transcript. The article follows the audio, with a few vocal ticks left out for better readability. This is the first of several more 30DoD updates to come.
So I’m at Day 10 of the “30 Days of Discipline” commitment that I started on Saturday, not last weekend but the week before. And I took a picture to see where I’m at. I could see some weight coming off last week and I could feel my waist shrinking because my pants were fitting looser than before. I was getting some immediate results about 4 days in. And I thought “That’s pretty cool!”
I’d never done 100 push ups and 100 sit ups and 100 squats a day, day after day. I would do that stuff at CrossFit once in awhile but not on a daily basis, so that was one of the big ones. But the big one was the “no masturbation.” I thought “Oh, I’m going to have no problem with this” but now I’m 10 days in and — I’m starting to notice it. I’m starting to think that maybe I need it.
I didn’t think I was addicted to anything but this has a slight feel of a need great enough to break the rules and not tell anybody.
I figured I would not break the rules and be a man about it and just do another 20 days, finish out the 30 and then — of course I’m going to want to do something then. Maybe I’ll have a different feeling about it. I’m not sure. I have these ideas that it would great to do before bed because it would help me sleep but the fact is, I fall asleep in 10 seconds after I lay my head to the pillow. That’s one of the advantages of getting 4.5 hours of sleep: you’re tired at the end of the day.
I’m looking at this picture I took and the compression shorts really do show off the waistline where I’ve got a little fat roll there. It’s not ridiculous but it definitely does reveal the subcutaneous fat “rather nicely” I would say. I’m not starting from zero. I had some level of fitness with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but I wasn’t really hitting that consistently either for the past few months. The “30 Days of Discipline” for me is just a restart before the New Year.
I just happened to find out about it and watched a few videos from Nick Kelly, aka Victor Pride. He’s the author of the “30 Days of Discipline” and also “New World Ronin.” I got the “30 Days of Discipline” from Kindle along with “New World Ronin” and “30 Days…” was smaller so I just read it pretty much one sitting and then I looked back at the 12 pieces in the Recap that are — basically the 30 Day commitment is to do these 12 things. I thought:
“I can do that!”
I’m already taking cold showers, I’m already eating 3 meals a day (or less) with no snacks between. I decided to go with the intermittent fasting (IF) version of that so my first meal of the day is around Noon and I’m done eating around 8 PM. That gives me about 16 hours of not eating and 8 hours of eating. I’ve done that before with various Paleo diets and stuff so, I kinda know how to do that.
What I didn’t know was that adding some coconut oil — not coconut milk but coconut oil — to my coffee the last few mornings before Christmas morning. I thought: “This is great. This is going to give me some energy but it won’t spike my glucose!” I think most of us know the benefits of the medium-chain triglycerides that are in coconut oil and there’s the famous Bulletproof Coffee that takes advantage of the benefits of that.
But when you’re intermittent fasting, you’re not just avoiding some foods, you’re avoiding all foods, all calories. The idea there is to eliminate even the coconut oil, so I didn’t do it in this morning’s coffee and I’m not going to do it for the rest of the 20 days either. It’s just a small, small tweak but it’s that kind of stuff that can throw off the results I’m looking for, as far as leaning up even more.
So yeah… Christmas came and went. There was a feast. I made a lot of food. I didn’t make a lot of things but I made a pretty good amount of food so I have leftovers for a few days. Stuff like turkey, the bread — the bread continued through yesterday and then I cut the loaf that was left and put it in the freezer. It really turned out well this time. I did a whole-wheat sourdough. And then the root vegetables that were in the bottom of the roasting pan of the turkey, those are finished off as of last night. So are the sweet potatoes and lentils.
There’s still enough turkey for probably 3 days so. I’m glad I got a big enough turkey for leftovers! The meat on that bird after it went through the brine and then roasted it on the RecTec wood pellet grill, the meat was and still is so tender. Even when you heat it up again on the stove, in a skillet with the lid on. It can be steamed and still the meat is completely tender. You just take a knife and barely touch it and it cuts. Very delicious so I’ll do it that way from now on.
None of the deep frying and crazy hazardous shit.
Just brine it first to get some moisture and flavor into the meat and then let it dry out in the fridge so that skin gets crispy when it goes into the roaster.
That’s about it. I just wanted to start today with a picture and where I’m at on Day 10. It’s a few days from Christmas so the feast is over. I’m not expecting to eat crazy at New Years so I will just keep it kinda cool this year and use it as a reflecting point on the year that’s been and what I’m looking forward to. I’m glad I found out about this “30 Days of Discipline” a little bit early so I can start feeling the effects of any of these resolutions I might be making. I already have a head of steam built up.
I’m already writing again.
I found my purpose and my project is underway – everyday, I’m working on it. It’s a writing project, a book I’ve been putting off. My first one, so there are all these reasons not to do it because I’m not sure if I can do it. But I think if I keep at this, I will have the skill of writing everyday which will have built my confidence and build my ability to know that I’m a writer because I’m writing.
I’m a writer.
Therefore… I write.
That’s it for today.
One of the unexpected benefits of reading and committing to Victor Pride’s “30 Days of Discipline” became obvious while cleaning up in the kitchen a few days ago. It sounds so simple: instead of putting something off until later, a gentle suggestion came to mind. The guidance was suggestive, not demanding. There was nothing foreceful about it. Just the words:
“Why not just do it now?”
Such a simple suggestion, a quiet question that raised my awareness and stopped my habitual tendency to put something down unfinished and instead, asked “why not?” Yeah, why not just finish it while it’s still in my hands?
I went along with the suggestion and felt a wave of satisfaction, the kind you get when you check an item off your To Do list. Well, I’m guessing you enjoy it. I know I do.
The first time it happened, I stopped to consider the benefits and consequences before giving in. Now I don’t let the suggestion finish before just doing whatever needs getting done. As soon as I hear the “Why not…” I’m on it!
Last night was a different story
I saw the biggest effects so far last night while cleaning up after preparing and sharing the Best Christmas Feast Ever (BCFE) featuring Thomas Keller’s recipe for brined and wood fire roasted turkey, homemade whole wheat sourdough bread, lentils and sweet potatoes (with lots of butter) and coconut pound cake.
Add to that some homemade honey mead that just happened to ready for bottling and serving. More stuff, including decanting hoses and flip top bottles to deal with. The scene looked like a fully involved chemistry lab explosion – and I’m not complaining! I do some of my best work the kitchen, but cleanup has always required some extra determination and discipline. I’ve often just let something soak in the sink – even if it didn’t need soaking – as a way of getting away before the cleanup was through.
But that was last week
Welcome to the NWR! Find your purpose and get it done right now. Not later. Not someday. Now! Or even “Right-The-Fuck-Now!” as Nick Kelly (aka Victor Pride) might say. I can almost hear him now. If the sound of his voice doesn’t light a fire under your ass, I don’t know what will. Because it makes perfect sense and doing things the old way just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Time to do things a new way.
So: “Why not just do it now?”
Implementating “Why not just do it now?”
- Decision Time: what do you want to do?
- Make a To Do list. I use Evernote but pen and paper work too.
- Put a little square box to the left of each item. Check boxes are magic. (Trust me.)
- List finished? Great! Now pick a task to do.
- Get it done the first time: “Why not just do it now?”
- Check the box as soon as you complete the work.
- If it’s not 100% complete, you don’t get to check the box. Get back there!
- Stand back and admire your hard work and discipline.
- Head back to Step 4 until there are no more tasks to do.
- All Done? Time for a quick review.
- Remind yourself: “This is what being more disciplined can do.”
- Study, take daily action and follow through.
See you on the other side :-E
The book lays out a program that any man can do. But how many will do it?
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
I’ve taken daily action towards a purpose left unknown for years. Imagine how it feels to discover a purpose that’s been there all along and then notice the progress you’re making, day after day, inching it ever closer to completion.
It Goes Like This
I had gotten really good at selecting the things I wanted to do, not realizing that, although my practices were good, they weren’t combined in a way that got results.
I committed to the “30 Days of Discipline” program last Saturday, noting that one of the commandments goes like this:
4. For 30 days I will abstain from internet porn and masturbation.
WAIT. What Was That?!
I nearly closed the e-book right there. That’s it. Nobody is going to tell me what I can and can’t do. Or maybe — maybe there is some truth in the notion that having frequent orgasms can negatively affect mood, attention span and testosterone. Maybe. I wouldn’t know for sure unless I tried it. The mad scientist part of my brain subdued the defiant side and I decided right then and there to give it my all.
100%. No substitutions.
What made me accept the challenge? The book is clearly written. It is sparse, spartan and bare. The words pop from the page without sounding like a hard sell. You either believe it, or you don’t and I did. I was in.
Let’s Do This!
In just 6 days, my body has responded by getting noticeably stronger and leaner as measured by my accurate Withings scale and by the fact that my regular pants are looser around my waist. I’m sleeping less and getting much more done during the day. It’s like somebody turned up the heat — and I didn’t even know I was cold.
I am much more engaged and focused while sleeping less, eating less and doing a simple bodyweight exercise routine consisting of just 3 movements — each and every day.
Not if I feel like it or have the time.
Every single day.
I’m just a week into my “30 Days of Discipline” and I already see the world with a different set of eyes. I am simply doing what needs to be done, as soon as I see it, every day.
I am becoming the kind of man I respect and want to be.
I’ve started writing a book I’ve wanted to write for 3 years. I’m using the practices and skills learned from one book to the learn the discipline I need to write another.
Discipline: the one thing that affects everything.
I am in an nearly constant Flow state, feeling great, being productive and building momentum. I am making my intentions clear (To Do list) and taking consistent, daily action by repeating the same pattern, day after day with Sundays reserved as an “off” day to sleep in (if I want), eat more (if I want) and otherwise chill out for a bit, but not too much. Before bedtime, I’ll need to look back on the week that was and summarize what happened and what needs to be done in the week ahead.
It sounds like a lot of work but trust me — it’s worth it. The feeling I get by being able to remain focused and on-point is priceless.
A great sufi poet (Rumi) once said:
“Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?”
I know I do. Will you join me?
The blog I started in 2008 is now lost to history.
The person I once was is no longer. I’ve been transformed from a man in search of comfort to a man seeking his Purpose.
I recently discovered a single purpose that drives me, knowing that there are others standing in line. I had thought of purpose as singular and permanent – you choose it once and it never changes.
Where Did I Learn That?
That false idea of permanence is something like perfection: a holy grail that many seek but never find. I kept seeing my elusive purpose looking back at me, but it morphed from one thing to another and I kept thinking — which one is it?
- Is it playing music?
- Is it writing a book?
- Is it inventing something?
Actually, it wasn’t one of them, it was all of them!
Having a choice can make it hard to choose.
Learning that I could have more than one purpose but focus most of my creative attention on just one of them – at least for now – is HUGE!
I plan to post an fresh update every week as a way of summarizing what I’ve discovered so far. Thanks for reading!
Happy Holidays & All the Best in 2017.