Tag Archives: mindset

Halfway House

“One day your metabolism will slow down and your appetite will catch up with you.”

“Go to the gym now so that you don’t have to work as hard when you’re older”

“You look OK from the back but you’re a mess from the front”

“I like that you’ve got something to hang on to”

Being physically appealing from the neck down has never appealed to me. However, as time has gone on, despite eating healthy without calorie counting, my lifestyle has impacted what I can wear. In 2017 I was wearing hoodies 24/7 to disguise my burgeoning belly despite walking 30 miles a week.

By the end of 2018, I had outgrown even the new shirts and had begun to wear a big jumper over what I had. I looked at myself in the mirror with disgust and shame. Even the stress of work couldn’t take away from the fact that I was a mess, and I couldn’t trust myself to do a solo workout in the gym I’d signed up to.

I saw that an 8-week challenge was about to happen at my gym (True Grit Training) and thought I’d give it a go. High-intensity circuit training wasn’t new to me, I’d done “caveman training” beforehand lost some weight. However, the Paleo diet they preached wasn’t for me, I resented the food choices available. Heck, this week I’ve eaten cauliflower for the first time in about 3 / 4 years.

The first 3D scan told me I was practically a chocolate Buddha standing at just over 6ft tall – my heaviest in 10 years. This time I couldn’t rely on a messy break up to lose a stone in a week, it would be sheer hard work and disciplined eating. I sought to motivate myself over the long term so I set my weight target for the year and not the program. I also adjusted my approach to eating this time around. Rather than have a specialised set of foods for the purpose of the program, I chose to apply the lower carb higher protein principle to what I would eat on a regular basis.

In practice, the evening meals have been the same mix of fish, white and red meat with rice or sweet potatoes that I eat week in week out. Breakfasts and lunches have seen switches away from cereals and sandwiches or heavier cooked meals.

After 40 classes over 8 weeks, days before my final scan, I am ready to treat myself. I know I’ve lost over a stone in weight, I am one waist size down in formal trousers. When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t see a crazy amount of change in my shape. What I do see, is a man who is on the right path, a man who has put his mind to a mix of extreme, spinning, strength and other circuit classes. I don’t yet have the body I want but to paraphrase Bon Jovi, oh ….I’m halfway there.

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Filed under Just Living, Non Poetic Blogs

Gremlins and molehills

My home is the stage, or so I thought. Nobody wants to hear me, besides, I’m not allowed to say what I think.

This was me, aged 21 after discovering that performance poetry was the one place where I couldn’t be shot down. The one place where I wasn’t being told that I wasn’t good enough. The one place I wasn’t compared to someone my family or peers knew. The only place where I could speak my mind and people had to listen.

The stage is my home, I don’t get nervous, I come alive when I’m centre stage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Having written and rewritten my piece for Man Up, my confidence level was always around 8 – 10 on any given day in practice mode. I’ll be just fine for the shows, do what I gotta do.

Somehow the closer I got to the shows, an old gremlin spoke up and asked, “What if I mess up?” Fear of failure, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of letting others down had all shackled me for most of my years. Despite my confidence in my ability to deliver, it caused me to practice even harder right up to the last minutes before I was to step into the limelight.

Despite controlled recovery from a few stumbles, I beat myself up for the rest of the first show. I told myself it was awful, that my part was the weakest out of the solos. I told myself that the crowd didn’t want to hear me talk about race and masculinity, they came for the stories from people like them. They didn’t want someone to rhyme at them with all those hand motions. I told myself a lot of things. Somehow the rest of the cast didn’t see it like I did. They told me they saw me come alive, they heard my passion, they told me they had to remember to hold their applause.

I arrive at the mid-point of a series of performances, so far two nights, two sold-out shows. I was better this time, not perfect but better in the second show. Self-awareness can be destructive at times, yet with 3 shows to go, I realise the importance of embracing the bright. Take the microphone away from the gremlin and make your voice count in a good way.

I’ve got two shows in one evening before the final performance a day later. What matters most? The simple truth is my story is being heard in a way that only I can tell it. At some point I’ll tell it again without the production values, I might even give you the extended version. Simple truths about the best of what I’m doing matter more than amplifying minor faults. Knowing the mountains from molehills will take you far.

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Lament of a Psalmist

lament

You can feel intimate with a militant. 

They seem so real, yet when you touch them, you feel silicone. 

But God said! So their thus said is legitimate. 

Ignorant innocents are impudent kites

Hold on or be hung by string theory

Holy rollers become weed smokers.

Unnoticed, Moses became the Joker

Deleting pixels for their picture a bat symbol, not magnum opus

Hopeful loyalists practice upper lip stiffness as wisdom

Won’t take a knee or comb the heir to the family business.

Live in a dragons den whispering their knowledge of the litmus.

This divine monopoly’s a comedy of vapours and groupthink.

Where the audience is clowned for pointing out it stinks.

Rub sticks and create fire or feel the sword like molar of holy rollers

Code masters unmask the mode of most high and create players to sacrifice.

Who am I?

A born sinner, a dinner, a lost soul to a soul winner that won’t vary the bait.

Space invaders, snipers, rangers marshal the momentum of the naysayer.

Demon days filled with gorillas, gargoyles and goblins are a Lord’s Prayer.

Whose frames do you wear? Do you die or dare? Be a black life, matter?

I see red tape masters speak tongues in monotones like heaven’s got their name on the deed.

With all of these gang signs and storms seen I’m falling through my flaws.

My moorings are unsure and I’m dying to breathe, searching for answers.

If the real God we can’t see, is it because of us or gospel gangsters?

 

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Potters’ Arf Marathon – My Story

Potters arf Race no.

Although I took part in a half marathon 5 years ago for a charitable cause, fitness wise I’ve only recently begun to battle the early 30s bulge.
During the working week, I walk about 25 miles so  walking Stoke -on-Trent’s “Potters’ Arf” (half) marathon seemed a great fit for me.

Having lost a family member, bought and moved into a house in the last 2 months, I haven’t had much time to train. I didn’t know how fit I was or whether I would match the 3 hours and 50 minutes I did 5 years ago. Until the starting klaxon, butterflies were salsa dancing in my stomach.

While my “man in black” attire seemed at odds with the fluorescent offerings by the groups around me, the air was filled with focus and fun. On a grey and increasingly wet Sunday morning in June, I was certainly in the focus camp.

Today I would be a soloist surrounded by small orchestras while others hoped to raise money, my job was simply to get over the finish line in one piece.

Though I started in the front 15, I didn’t expect to stay there. The banter with a small group who would alternate between running and walking through sections of the course made for an entertaining first half.

I would pass them, then 5 minutes later I would hear buckets jangling as they passed me in a blur of pink.
I played pick the pacemaker with various people in front of me until they were too far ahead or behind. As my pace steadied, a 52-year-old guy called “Brian” and I begun a conversation. I’d say he made my decision to do this worthwhile.

Hearing about the cause he was doing this for would have had me in tears had it not been for the rain filling my eyes. Getting to know “Brian” throughout the middle of the race helped this overthinker relax and find my rhythm.
If I’d had my phone I would have focused on it and probably slowed down to check every mile. Instead, through our conversation and the rhythm we found, we managed to reel in and surpass those doing the run/ walk combo.
As the crowds started to thicken at around the 9-mile mark, I was starting to lose him and by the 10th mile when elite runners had passed me, he was out of sight.

From then on the energy from the crowd became my battery. I thanked or gave two thumbs up to everyone that applauded or told me to keep going.I officially crossed the line at 2 hours 58 minutes and 45 seconds.

“Brian” was right, we had hit a quick pace and somehow I’d managed to maintain it.As I scoured the official results, he was nowhere to be found, “Brian” must have been an Angel sent to encourage me, for that I am thankful.

I learned  several things about myself today,  simple as they may be, my 3 takeaways are:

  1. Focus doesn’t mean intense self-talk. Tune into your journey and the people or things that help you with it.
  2. Walk your walk. Your Brian will come and go, you still have to cross the line.
  3. Find the fun(ny) – a smile is a groove that may help you find yours.

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Clockwatching

clock-watching

They say time is a healer but…

Time has no hands, no feet, and no voice to speak.

With no needs to meet,

You and I create time

Time doesn’t have feelings

It doesn’t have love or hate to deal with

It can’t discern the fantasist from the realist.

It can’t read your reactions

Nor does it have a face to face the consequences

You and I create time

You and I decide between dark and light

You and I decide when we’re ready to walk into the deep

We weep until the drought is fierce

We survive on the fruits of our faith in the reflections we find

You and I create time

Will time test and tell or do you and I indulge in the canonisation of self-preservation

Creating tall tales with foundations for generations

Do we tell many times so that time can tell.

If time talked, we could have a conversation

If time healed, maybe I’d have regular vaccinations because shoulda, woulda, coulda, never turns time’s tables.

Now if time can be bought, how do you loot it, can it be taken?

They say there’s time for everything, but all I see is man’s arrangement.

Like learning English as a foreign language, the context is a maze in

the fact that we are but choices of creation

If eternity is really time, a paradise that we’re awaiting

What materials are you building with if life is simply time that we’re creating?

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5 day poetry challenge Day 3 – The Dawn

White sands fell between them

The morning tide kissed their foreheads

New palms bowed and curtsey in turn

Clouds yawned for the first time as the sky opened its eyes

The wind smiled like a new-born after its first feed

Time had walked the shortest distance from their wrist to their hands

Steady as the drizzle of summer rain, they breathed

Whispers tiptoed from their lips into the oxygen

Like hydrogen they ignited as understanding embraced

Good Morning,

Good morning to love said the flame

Finding their soul frequency retinas roared

Detonated heart beats battling soon soothed to an echo

Atlas had become compass in a blink

Yet this was Eden and it would be human to think

So they admired

The apple of their eye was a fruit of their spirit

They’d given lives to acquire the rights to the orchard

Merely breathing was deemed eating of the moment and

Building a city of roses required appetite so apple blossom became staple diet

Welcome,

Welcome to life said the Middle Tree

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5 day Poetry Challenge – Day 1: E.O.W

I was nominated by another poet via Facebook to post a poem each day for 5 days. This poem could be freshly written or something that hadn’t been posted before. I’ve opted for faith in the poems I’ve had less contact with since they’ve been written.

Fighting in the ring of denial

Boxed in

Boxing truth

Looking for that knockout blow

Jabbing

Moving in white lies

Lines

But I can never avoid the speed of reason

The power of logic comes home to roost on my chin

If truth can set you free

Then my mind is housed in glass doomed to crack and shatter

What is the purpose of fighting truth when revelation is a redeeming knowledge served on a platter for you to add to your arsenal

Wisdom is an acquaintance of knowledge

An acquisition that will not arrive horse drawn.

Wisdom and knowledge are the bridge with railings we deploy to ensure we cross through situations safely

Without these tools we crash into trouble at breakneck speed

Just as your five fruit a day

We need these

To begin

At the end of the weak

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