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The Deck

Keith returned home from Peace Corps looking like he should be modeling underwear for Calvin Klein. I told him he looked absolutely fit. Playfully, he credited chewing coca leaves every day. Then he told me about The Deck.

I rather make the best of my surroundings than go to the gym. I choose to do general exercises that require no equipment or weights.

My fitness routine is often changing. I’ve never forgotten Keith’s Deck workout, and lately, it found it’s way back into my life. I love it and today I’m sharing it with you. You might want to use The Deck to mix up your workout.

Here’s How To Create Your Own Deck

Dig into that junk drawer and pull out a deck of playing cards. It doesn’t have to be a complete deck. For example, this current set of mine only has 30 cards. O’well, good enough.

First, I write down on a note card the cards: ace, two, three, etc.

Next, I write an exercise next to each card: abs, push-ups, lunges, etc.

Then I shuffle the cards and complete the workout in random order.

I don’t always (actually rarely) make it through the entire deck in one sitting, but if I can make it through a deck a day, I know I’m doing great.

I try to make fun games for myself. For example, if I can complete a deck of cards before 7 p.m. I give myself a gold medal. At the end of the week I try to achieve five gold medals.

Want the perfect Deck just for your fitness level? That’s my thing. I can help you with that.

From Morning Moves

Morning Moves – Break the Pattern

We all feel anger, fear, worry, upset or stress.

We all travel back in time and feel regret about something or another.

We all travel into the future and feel a worry that hasn’t occurred.

We feel these things for our job, relationships, children, health, etc, etc.

We have all had situations where we snap at someone, but it wasn’t them, it was our current state of being. We have all been there. It’s normal.

The Difference is How Long We Stay In That Negative State of Being

How long are you staying there?

The difference is our habitual patterns that we unknowingly ride into those self defeating states of being. The entire reason why I share these “morning moves” is so you can start your day off with a “move” that positively influences your state of being.

I’ve been sharing one PHYSICAL ACTIVITY that you can perform each morning immediately out of bed so our mind and body is in alignment to have a good day. That starts with optimizing our posture.

Think of it in these terms…

…if we’re in a depressed state of being consider your posture. Our shoulders are slumped, our head is downward, our breath is shallow, we’re quiet, we’re slow, we’re heavy not light.

We know this for two reasons:

1. we’ve all seen it in others and

2. we’ve all spent a part of our life practicing to be that way ourselves.

Take a few days to stop and reflect about this for yourself.

So if we can “just” (simply) and radically change our bodies (posture) first thing out of bed, we’ll tremendously improve our state of being. Because exercise – even just one simple movement like the ones I offer you – forces our shoulders to be pushed forward, our head to be upright, our breath to inhale deep. We’ll be intentional with our voice. Our body’s direction and expression will be happy, strong, soft, light. That’s the idea behind the “morning move” practice. For me and for a lot of people, it’s physical movement that is best for accomplishing this.

Try These Alternative (that are not physical) “Morning Moves”

Your morning move doesn’t have to be physical. That’s not the only game in town.

There are three other “muscles” you can flex first thing in the morning that will help you step aside from negative feelings and thoughts. There are other morning moves that produce good posture, alertness and a positive state, and you can practice this habitually to replace the old pattern of bad thoughts. Those three other muscles are the mental, emotional and spiritual muscle.

Remember, we want to break an old pattern and replace it with a better one.

Recently, I’ve changed my morning routine away from a physical movement.

The greenhouse season is in full swing. We’re planting every day, all day. It’s game on! I love it. So I wake up and I want to get right to work. I’m into it. The great thing about greenhouse season is that it’s a game to see if you can make less mistakes from the season the before. Now that the season is under way, I am excited about this game. As soon as I wake up I want to get crackin’.

I don’t want to exercise or write in my journal. I’m not saying I don’t do those things. I’m just not doing them first thing out of bed. Instead, my first move is into emotion or into laughter as I prepare myself nutritionally. I have about 20 minutes.

Here’s a sample of what I’ve been connecting with in those first 20 minutes out of bed.

Humor

Laughing is good. How many times do your children laugh per day? Compare that to how many times us adults laugh per day…

These videos recently have made me laugh:

Anything from Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

This Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Lip Sync Battle between Joseph Gordon Levitt, Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Fallon was funny

I find most of Louie CK’s comedy humorous. This skit especially about Love and Relationships

This one is great if you’ve never seen it. Newhart could solve a lot of personal issues with this therapy. You don’t need drugs.

Reply with the comedy videos that make you laugh out loud.

All of the above are funny. They make me laugh. Laughter makes me smile. Smiling changes my posture. Laughing also releases “happy chemicals.” I’d love to explain from a scientific standpoint what happens when you laugh… but I’m not that fluent. Suffice to say it’s something about laughter that has always proven to have a powerful and positive effect on physical, emotional health and wellbeing. It heals and renews the mind, and works fast to bring mind and body into balance. Great way to start the day.

Music

Music is great too. For morning listening, I use Spotify and lean toward music without words.

Here are two albums currently in rotation:

Deep Focus Indie Rock Alternative Electronic (Music for Concentration, Intense Studying, Perfect Concentration, Brain Food, Music for Study, Productive Morning, Afternoon Acoustic)

Zen Medidation Music Academy

I haven’t pulled myself away from these albums either:

Bob Dylan – New Morning

John Mayer – The Search for Everything (wave one)

Reply with the music you have in rotation.

Poetry

Or I feed my mind with poetry, which I consider spirituality.

I love poetry because I love language and remarkable communication. I also love poetry because it allows me to be constructive in connecting to pain (mine or the universal pain we all have felt). Poetry helps me to discover more about myself and how I want to connect to life. Here are

The Layers by Stanley Kunitz

I Went Into the Maverick Bar by Gary Snyder

Traveling in the Dark by William Stafford

The Things You Do Not Have to Say by William Stafford

River Teeth: An Introduction by David James Duncan

Send me your favorite poem.

I want to be the strongest version of myself so I have a checklist every day that includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. I know that if I just mark the boxes off this checklist, I’ll be okay

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Morning Moves – Breathe!

When the mother of my children and I broke up for the final time, she was pregnant with our daughter Ada.

Every time I picked up our other two (Ella and Lucan), my heart rate would soar from low 70s into the 100s. My nervous system would spike into overdrive. It was like I was being emotionally hijacked.

I am talking about giant waves of bad feelings that completely knocked me down. I’m talking about suddenly falling through a deep dark rabbit hole filled with rage, hurt, panic and fear. To deal with it, I discovered breath work. I’d put my hand on my pulse and breathe deep full breaths until I felt it fall back to somewhat normal.

That technique saved me!

Unfortunately, as I moved beyond that season and those feelings, it was like I forgot about the healing power of conscious breath. I abandoned the practice and never thought to apply breath work toward everything else in life, such as parenting, relationships, financial stress… to name a few.

This experience is called emotional flooding and it got the better of me more than a couple of times.

It’s “morning moves” Tuesday!

The day I share a movement for you to try first thing out of bed.

Normally, I video a movement, but it’s not necessary today. Today, just practice to find your breath.

Breathing is easy but often overlooked. You don’t even need to do this first thing out of bed, although I recommend you do. Do it again and again and again throughout your day. Do it every moment you can steal from the frenzy of being alive.

Five deep breaths. Find a moment or more every day for five deep, full breaths. No specific way to breathe. You find your own natural movement of your breath. Pay attention to it. Learn it.

By breathing full inhales and exhales for a minute or so you can slow down your nervous system and allow for clarity, or fall asleep, or calm your nerves, or lower your heart rate – anything, really. Breathing is a tool I recommend mastering. I am by no means a master, but in my recent dive into meditation and yoga, I am in awe of what I am capable of doing with my breath.

Give it a conscious effort this week.

Here and now in this season, I recognize behaviors and associations of mine that I want to change. For me, changing behavior begins with an end. I have learned that I have to first stop a behavior if I want to start a different behavior.

In the case of my emotional flooding, my was body even changing. Here’s how I figured it out. Here’s my four step approach to a lot of things these days.

I state my condition:

My heart is pounding. My breath is shallow. I feel rage, hurt, panic and fear.

I take responsibility for myself:

I am going to calm myself down.

I say how will I take responsibility:

I am going to breathe until my pulse lowers.

I do it like my life depends on it (because it feels like it does)

Morning Moves – Table Makers

The way you move determines the way you feel.

Try this move called Table Makers first thing out of bed. Watch the video below.

Every week I offer you a new “morning move” to try first thing out of bed. The premise is that bad physiology reinforces negative feelings. I love Tony Robbins. I read his books. I listen to his videos. He says, “Motion creates emotion.”

So changing your physiology means changing your mental state and breaking negative patterns. Or breaking dull patterns. Like sleep walking into the kitchen to get the coffee going. Great physiology leads to great emotions, and that is one of the keys to having a great day and/or getting unstuck.

If you’re not committed to a different path, what’s ever going to change, shift or transform?

Here’s this week’s morning move.

This is from Morning Moves

I want to be the strongest version of myself so I have a checklist every day that includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. More about that here

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Morning Moves – Steal Time In Your Day To Make a Move

Here’s this week’s “morning move.” Except it didn’t happen this morning, but that’s okay because it’s not a prescription, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a theme.

Here’s what to do when you miss

Here’s the Concept Behind Morning Moves

The concept is simple: begin your day with the smallest possible “move.” Like first thing out of bed do a plank for 10 seconds. Or an inch worm. Or 25 push ups. I’ve been sending you a new “morning move” to try for seven consecutive days until the next Tuesday morning when I send you another.

– It reinforces positive feelings about yourself
– It breaks negative patterns and associations
– It produces good emotions
– It’s energizing, gets blood flow moving
– It doesn’t have to take long

The premise is that bad physiology reinforces negative feelings. I love Tony Robbins. I read his books. I listen to his videos. He says, “Motion creates emotion.” So changing your physiology means changing your mental state and breaking negative patterns. Or breaking dull patterns. Like sleep walking into the kitchen to get the coffee going. Great physiology leads to great emotions, and that is one of the keys to having a great day and/or getting unstuck.

I get out of bed and immediately perform a movement. I get out of bed and practice a positive mental statement within the “morning move” to calibrate myself for the day. All in just a few minutes of movement. It’s been so powerful for me that I want to share with you.

This Morning I Had To Steal a Different Window

I was in bed way late. I slept in. The margin between getting out of bed and getting to work were slim. So I skipped my normal routine. I drank my coffee like a zombie and found my way to work out of sheer muscle memory. Did I miss my window? No way… I stole another window. I called a friend. I took a 3 mile walk.

Every day you reinvent yourself (physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually). You’re always in motion. But you decide every moment of every day: forward or backward.

Check out previous morning moves

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Introducing Morning Moves

I’m in a process of shifting toward the idea that my primary relationship is my relationship with myself. Novel concept, eh?

If I’m honest with myself, that’s not the space I’ve been in for the previous 16 years! So I’m asking myself what that looks like? How does that feel? When I “find it” how do I stay anchored in it? What do other relationships look like now – are they different than ones I’ve had in my past? Ultimately, what does my life look like under this new paradigm?

But I’m getting far to ahead of myself. Right now… in my pursuit of feeling what a primary relationship with myself feels like and looks like, I have ‘new wiring’ to work through. In a nutshell, I am engaged in practices that help my physical and emotional body make new associations. This consists of routines, rituals, redirection of my focus and plenty of movement.

I’ve always been an avid student of this stuff, but now that I equate not changing these associations with pain, I’m kicking my commitment up a notch. I am the student, I am in the transformation process. And as the student, I’m going to share what I’m doing because this is where I’m hanging my hat for awhile.

Here’s one thing I’ve discovered to be so true:

Bad physiology reinforces negative feelings. As Tony Robbins says, “Motion creates emotion.” So changing your physiology means changing your mental state and breaking negative patterns. Which means great physiology leads to great emotions, and that is one of the keys to … having a great day and getting unstuck.

One thing I’m doing that’s working for me is to get out of bed and immediately perform a movement. I get out of bed, I have a fixed positive mental statement that I’m repeating then calibrate myself for the day with just 3 minutes of movement.

Here are the benefits:

– It reinforces positive feelings
– It breaks negative patterns and associations
– It produces good emotions
– It’s energizing, gets blood flow moving
– It doesn’t take longer than 180 seconds

Want to try this at home for yourself? Sound like this might be something you need? I’ve been doing this for a little while now and I can attest to the positive results. At the very least, if you’re feeling awful, it’s a way to NOT connect with that pain, turn down the dimmer switch on that pain and start the day off with good health.

I’m going to bring you a new morning move every Tuesday. The idea is that you do this move first thing out of bed every morning. Do this one move every morning for seven days. Then on Tuesday (every Tuesday) we’ll switch it up with something new.

I am a master, I know nothing. I am a student, I know something. I’m your healthy living agent and invite you to engage in these types of conversations with yourself, with me, with your family, friends, peers. Our strongest version balances our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.

Here’s Tuesday’s morning move

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