A Good Place to (Re)Start

Hello, and welcome to the Living Revolution 🙂

This week represents a shift in the seasons, as summer ends,  and fall begins. For me, this week also represents a time to “start over” or refresh. My family lives a hectic and busy life, and we try hard to establish and maintain routines that are effective and efficient. We try hard to prioritize our time together, and still leave room for leisure activities and spontaneity. Often, when we are focused on constructing our schedules, we overlook the blank spaces on the calendar. We forget about those time when nothing is going on, and we have the opportunity to relax at home, without an agenda. The quiet moments spent reading together on the couch, the teamwork of preparing and sharing dinner as a family, the relaxation of lying in the yard, soaking in the sunshine, all represent a sense of freedom to me. In my mind, this downtime is much more important than all the activities and hobbies we chase after to fill up our lives, but it is often neglected, and that sense of freedom is replaced with a sense of obligation to what comes next on our weekly checklist. Is this any way to live life?

Today, I want to share a short video with you that asks a very important question: What does freedom mean to you? The speaker in this video offers some interesting insight to possible answers to this question, but I would very much like to hear what you have to say on the matter. Post a comment below or shoot me an email and let me know how you manifest a sense of freedom in your life on a daily basis. Thank you for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution! Until next time…Peace.Tobias.

Prioritize

Hello Friends ,

I’ve been trying to write this post for the past two weeks. Another epiphany struck me, just as summer set in here in Portland. I need to get my sh@# together. Seriously. It is time for me to start taking responsiblity for my life, for my goals, for my wants/needs/desires, for everything that I convince myself I can control in my little universe. What a sweet notion this is :).

With the kids being home from school, and my partner starting night classes at the community college, life got a bit hectic. I think we all handled ourselves pretty well, and there weren’t nearly as many catastrophic freak outs as I thought there would be. However, these changes did help me recognize that I put up with a lot of bullsh#% from myself that is really unnecessary. I make life harder than it needs to be, and this stresses me out, stresses my kids out, and generally makes life unpleasant and chaotic. So, I decided to stop doing all that and PRIORITIZE. Here is a short list of what I am going to put my time and energy into in the coming days/weeks/months. I’d love to hear what you are spending you energy on, so after you read my list, shoot me a list of your own!

I’ve always been adamant about putting family first. It always seems like the hardest to pull off, and it always feels the worst when something prevents me from fulfilling my responsibilities to the people I care most about. I work hardest on this one, because I know if I don’t have the foundation of love, support and accountability I need to continue to grow as a human being, I would be utterly lost in the world. My kids and Alix deserve the most from me, so I am committing myself to being the best partner/parent I can be.

Work only comes second because of how closely it is tied to the my first priority. I need to support my family by doing well at my chosen profession, and diligently endeavor to achieve excellence in whatever undertaking I choose to pursue. My work also gives me purpose and drive to grow academically, and develop my personality to thrive in a variety of different situations. As a coach, I spend much of my time working hard to ensure people clearly understand specific concepts, and teaching them how to articulate those concepts in a physical reality using their own bodies and other implements. Really, it is just excercise, but I will work to make it something special.

Training is a close third because it is also tied so closely to the first two. To be able demonstrate a Muscle-Up, it really helps if you can DO  a Muscle-Up, so I practice ALOT.  Also, physical activity helps me keep an even keel. I won’t ever claim that I have ADHD, but sometimes when I think about it real hard, the shoe fits pretty well, if you know what I mean. I NEED to move. Thrashing around with a barbell, or testing how long I can hold a handstand, or trying to beat my previous burpee record all serve to keep me active, fit, healthy and sane. Training helps me do my job well, which in turn, helps me take care of my family here. I bet you are beginning to see how these are all intertwined…

Friends don’t get nearly enough time, in my opinion. My social schedule obviously revolves around the first three priorities, and those often take up all the hours in the day. When I do socialize, it is often with the same people I train/work with. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad scenario, but it can get a bit awkward sometimes when people don’t act like adults, and they allow the lines of those respective circles to blur, and then shit can get messy. Recently, I have been working on expanding my social circle, but it hasn’t worked very well so far. I’ve also tried contacting a few long, lost friends from my past, but quality time and positive interaction with those people have been fleeting at best. Internet dating sites are a bit awkward, but I am trying it out, just to see who is out there in the big, wide world. You never know, until you look, right?

Writing comes last, and for this, I punch myself in the face on a regular basis. Words are my passion, and often, the best way to find common ground with other people.  I assume that is why you all continue to read what I write, and find some value in this blog. Right now, I am trying my best to bang out the last few paragraphs of this essay, so I can grab the kids, and jet off to the river for a bit before the sun tucks itself back behind the clouds. I don’t spend nearly enough time editing, or rewriting, or spellchecking, or idea-finding. I don’t spend nearly enough time using my words to alter the world around me in a positive way. I don’t spend nearly enough time using my worlds to affect social change, or to challenge the dominant paradigm of Amerikan culture, or rage against the injustice and insanity I see around me every day. I don’t spend nearly enough time using my words to tell people I love them, or to spread good cheer, or to make new friends, or send encoragement to someone I know needs it most. I NEED to write more!

This is a pretty short list, but I think it is necessary to pare down and focus. Even with only five items, I know there will always be something that isn’t getting my full attention, and there will always be something that I need to spend more time on. But, at least now I have a starting point, and I have plan of action. What are your priorities today? Who or what do you want to spend more time with? What goals and dreams are you chasing this summer? Drop me a line and let me know what is on your mind :). Until next time…

Peace.Tobias.

Preventing Play Poses Peril to Pre-pubescents

Hello Friends,

What a nice alliteration, don’t you think? Too bad it conveys such an unfortunate message. I recently read an article in the Oregonian which disturbed me, and I wanted to take some time and give you my two cents on the subject, and hopefully start a conversation.

The Portland Public School system has actually suggested cutting Physical Education classes for a majority of Portland Public schools in the coming school year. Can you believe that? Apparently, there is something like $19 million dollars that will be cut from next years budget, and since many school have already removed their creative arts and music programs, PE classes are next on the docket. Why is it always about the money? Seriously, whose pockets are being filled at the expense of our kid’s education?

This budget cut could potentially eliminate as many as 65 teaching positions, adding to Oregon’s already high unemployment rate, as well as increase the workload for classroom teachers, who would be expected to “offer students the opportunity for movement and activity during the school day”. It can also be assumed that the number of fat kids in Portland would also jump dramatically, and no one really wants that, do they?

All joking aside, how can anyone think this is a good idea? I am not well-versed in Oregon’s tax system, or the trickiness of macroeconomics, but I think it should go without saying that actively preventing children from engaging in physical activity and play, for whatever reason,  is a bad idea.  Because this is an economic and political issue, it also makes me wonder about the effectiveness of a system that would consider taking such drastic negative measures against future generations. It makes me wonder about the intentions of people who were elected as political representatives, and who have power to make decisions in situations like this that can affect the lives of millions of people. It makes me wonder about the profiteers who will, no doubt, benefit monetarily from deals like this. It makes me wonder about our priorities as a community, and question whether we know what is good for us as a species. It makes me wonder, as an advocate for social justice, why it is always the poor schools who must give up their art programs, and their music programs, and their PE programs? It seems wrong on so many levels, doesn’t it?

My son in currently enrolled in his second year of public school. My daughter is attending kindergarten at a publicly funded school. Knowing that they may not be “allowed” any time to express themselves in a physical way worries me. They are both extremely active, and learn best when they can move around and interact with their environment. Physical play also helps balance their energy levels, so they can sit relatively still and pay attention when they need to. I don’t like the idea of my kids being cooped up all day in a classroom, and I don’t think they will enjoy it either.

So, what are some ways we can fix this? How can the people of Portland, on a community level, take direct action to prevent this from happening to our schools? How do we bypass the bureaucracy of city government and contribute to a positive solution that can serve the best interest of everyone involved? I have a few ideas, if you will please indulge me…

1. As parents, or rather, anyone who cares about the physical and mental well-being of a child, we should take some responsibility and make a concerted effort to play with out kids more. Spend time as a family, being active and engaging life on some physical level.

2.  Re-evaluate our methods of mass education and socialization, and see if there aren’t some changes we could make that might be more positive for children who  populate those systems. Perhaps we are not teaching our children in the most effective manner, and perhaps the content of what we are teaching them is not as interesting or intellectually stimulating as it could be. Perhaps, by conforming to some kind of standardization, we are killing their creative spirit, and showing them a skewed way of interacting with the world around them. We need to change all that right now.

3. Change the method of government and economics we practice in consumer capitalism. How is possible that our teachers are paid so little, given the significance of their job? How is it possible, that we cannot tax ourselves appropriately to ensure the community has access to such simple amenities as health care, decent education, and livable wages? How is it possible that the people elected to represent the rest of the community can offer legislature that would surely lead to negative, unpleasant effects for their constituents? We need to change all that right now.

What are your thoughts? Is this happening in other places as well? Do we see this as part of a growing trend of behavior? Are there simple solutions we are not implementing that could prevent scenarios like this? Drop a comment and let me know what you think. Until next time…

Peace.Tobias.