Do Good Shelter and “Long Ladder of Doom”

Hello and welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

As many of you know, I am a veteran, having served with the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army. ¬†My experiences in the military helped shaped who I am today, both in developing my character, and showing me a view of humanity that can’t be found anywhere else.

After I separated from the military, I was interested in maintaining a connection to the community of veterans and participated in a variety of endeavors including war protests and volunteer opportunities that served the veteran community here in Portland, OR. ¬†These experiences brought to light the intense struggle some veterans face while trying to re-integrate with the civilian population. I was made aware of a slew¬†of challenges¬†veterans faces including addiction/substance abuse, homelessness, mental illness/PTSD, and unemployment. It baffles and saddens me that the government of the United States,(and the various organizations whose purpose it is to serve veterans), are doing such a poor job of taking care of the people who made great sacrifices to defend this country and “the American way of life”.

So, now I am going to do something about that. And YOU are going to do something about that. We are going to do something, and not because it is the holiday season, or because your donations will be tax-deductible. Rather, we are going to act because humanity gets a bit more diluted everyday,  and compassion and generosity and humility are fading from what it means to be human, and  we can do something to stop that from happening. We are gong to do something because I believe that making life better for a homeless veteran will be a positive step toward fighting against all the bullshit in the world.

Here’s the deal…

Crossfit Primal Energy is partnering with Do Good Veterans Shelter of Portland to host a fundraising event in January 2016. The event will be held at Crossfit Primal Energy (2820 SE 8th Ave. Portland, 97206), and will include participation in a very challenging WOD called “Long Ladder of Doom”.¬†We will be collecting cash, dry food goods, and winter coats which will all be donated to Do Good, who will, in turn, pass on these resources to homeless veterans right here in Portland, OR.

What I need from all of you is PARTICIPATION!!

CLICK TO VIEW EVENT FLYER: longladderofdoom4

  1. Commit to join us on January 2nd 2016 for this awesome workout! Registration is $25 per person, and you can donate either/both 10lbs of dry food goods, or one(1) winter jacket to receive an awesome event t-shirt!
  2. Volunteer. If you are in Portland, contact Do Good Shelter and offer your services. They are a brand new organization and they need help in all sorts of ways. Use your unique skill set to help make the world a better place, and life a little bit more enjoyable for a homeless veteran.

See, it’s that simple! Thank you in advance for any assistance or contribution you can offer. This is a big deal to me, and I hope you will find some way to make it a big deal to you as well. Please email me with any questions at tobias.shea.livingrevolution@gmail.com, or click the links below to find more details.

Do Good Multnomah Volunteering 

Crossfit Primal Energy

As always, thank you for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution!

Until next time… Peace.Tobias.

 

Inspiring Loyal Believers

Hello and welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

A large part of my role as a Crossfit coach is to promote what I believe and show my clients and gym members what works for me, namely the benefits of fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I use my education, experience and a healthy dose of experimentation to share what I know, and convince others they need what I am trying to give them. How I present myself to other people, and how I create connections, and ultimately, how I make a living, are all contingent on how well I establish a foundation of authenticity. Authenticity and transparency are two attributes that help create loyal believers and I want to talk a bit about how loyal believers are the foundation of any successful movement or process.

I started the year with a rant, and while it feels good to get that off my chest, I’m going to downshift this week, and start a discussion about how we inspire each other, and how that inspiration turns in to a process, and how that process eventually helps us achieve our desired results.¬†For any movement to be successful, or for any process to produce results, the individual participating in that process must be a loyal believer in the process, and that loyalty must be inspired by leaders who choose to set a positive (albeit not perfect) example. As a movement gains momentum, the followers continue to observe a leader’s actions and behaviors, and if authenticity is maintained, the likelihood of those followers “drinking the Kool-Aid” and committing to the process grows exponentially. No matter what kind of process or movement you are involved with, we all need mentors or provocateurs with good intentions to push us in to new and uncomfortable territory because we so rarely have the gumption to go to those places on our own.

We all struggle when confronting the part of ourselves we need to change. When the struggle becomes too much, it is appropriate to ask someone else for help, motivation, and information. I hear gripes and whines and excuses all the time about how “difficult” it is to make time for training. I hear moans and groans about how “hard” it is to eat enough protein, or sleep more than 5 hours a night, or drink 64 oz of water in one day. I love hearing these gripes and moans because this shared struggle is one way connection and community are established, and helping people find solutions to these challenges is what makes my job so interesting and exciting!! On a daily basis, I strive to create a community of people who practice encouraging each other. On a daily basis, I thrive on creating an atmosphere in our gym where anything less that your 100% is unacceptable, where there is no qualifying your effort as long as you are committed to the process. On a daily basis, I am rewarded when I see people overcome challenges, build mental and physical strength, and achieve their goals.

As you continue to forge a path in this New Year, I encourage to ask yourself if you are a loyal believer. Do you observe you current health status and your current physical abilities and decide that maintenance and optimal performance are optional? If your physical body and the duties you are able to perform contribute to your self-image and self-worth, I encourage you to commit your time and effort and consciousness  to process of making yourself better today than you were yesterday. As you evaluate the goals you are chasing and the processes you are involved in, ask yourself if what you are chasing with change your lifestyle in a positive way. Are you committed to being better today, in some way, than you were yesterday?

Answer these questions, and then shoot me few lines and let me know how you are progressing in this New Year. I look forward to hearing from you :). As always, thank you for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution!!

Until next time…Peace.Tobias.

excess doesn’t = success, success doesn’t mean excess

Hello, and welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

  I taught two Crossfit classes this morning, starting at the unholy hour of 515am. There is a very short list of activities I enjoy participating in at 515am, and teaching Crossfit classes is actually on that list.  I do this a few mornings a week, because I love it. I love that there are people who are crazy enough (and dedicated enough) to show up every morning and brace themselves against the rest of the day with a bout of intense exercise. I love being the first person in the gym. I love how quiet it is early in the morning, and how still it feels in the gym. I love writing the workout on the board, and then mentally rehearsing drills, points of performance and cues for the movements we are programming that day. I love coaching because it is something I am learning to be good at, and I am learning to be good at coaching because I love the work I do.

Strangely enough, I sat down to write today with the intent of complaining and whining about why I don’t get paid enough for what I do. This led to me complaining and whining about how I don’t get paid enough at my “job”. This led to a short(but frantic) Google search for part-time jobs, and being faced with the stark reality of the current job market. Which led to me complaining and whining about…you get the idea. But, when I sat down here to get all that out of my head, the above paragraph is what came out. The irony is not lost on me.

It is hard for me to describe why I struggle so hard with the idea of financial “success”. I get ideas twisted in my head, and somehow marry the ideas of happiness and success to financial gain, and¬†that union has always left a weird taste in my mouth. I think I have a skewed view of what is “not enough”. I definitely have a different perspective on what is “too much”. ¬†I’m not afraid of hard work. I’m not afraid to make sacrifices. Thankfully, so little in that regard is being asked of me. Instead, I feel a bit under-utilized. I feel like I’m holding myself back, or more accurately, I don’t know how to push myself forward. My ego is wondering what my real motives are, and where my loyalties lie. Can I simply continue to do what I love, share my vision¬†with other people, AND use these connections to help achieve my financial goals as well?

I keep coming back to words like cooperation and collaboration. I keep thinking in terms of combinations, adendums, and aggregate. What part can I play? What idea can I spread? How do our goals and passions intertwine? Am I making myself clear? But, I digress…

These words are a small step forward. The conversations that will resonate through each of you, will be other small steps forward. I encourage you to reach out to someone today and share an idea. Take some time and listen to someone else tell their story, or share their idea with you. How can you use me to benefit, and how can our partnership benefit us both? What can I help you do? What can we share? What can we create that manifests success beyond what we can imagine? Leave a comment, or send me a note and let’s get this train rolling. I can’t wait to see what kind of amazing stuff comes next! As always, thank you for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution :). Until next time…Peace.Tobias.

 

A Good Place to (Re)Start

Hello, and welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

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.

On Redefining Masculinity

Welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

Well, friends, I survived October.¬† The last couple weeks have been an incredible trip, fraught with emotional perils like I’ve never encountered. Much of my internal universe has shifted significantly and continues to bend, flex, contract and expand as I process these new feelings and all the excellent information I received from the friends and family with whom I sought counsel. I am looking at the world through a very different lens as I write this now, and I want to share with you some of what is going on in my head :).

Two stories in the popular media grabbed my attention this month. First, a¬†communal act of bravery and unselfishness demonstrated by a team of middle school football players. The second, a bullying scandal from another¬†football team, the Miami Dolphins. The actors in this story are, by most conventional definitions, considered adults. The actors in the first story are boys, just delving into puberty, young men, at best. Both stories are emotionally charged, but they inspire feelings on opposite ends of the spectrum of human behavior. The Dolphins story pisses me off and makes we wonder how some human beings are infected with so much negative energy and darkness they forget how to treat¬†the people around them¬†with dignity and respect.¬†The first story inspires me and reminds me there are good things happening all around us, and changing the world in a positive way still takes place on a person-to-person level. It makes me ecstatically happy to see compassion, camaraderie, courage, and love acted out by children who probably don’t yet understand the gravity and influence of their actions.

In light of challenges I’ve been working through recently in my personal life, I am looking at these stories and asking questions about what it means to be a “man” in both these situations. What impact does gender have on stories like these? What are the cultural implications for men when we recognize these kind of stories on a national level? What kind of precedent is the current generation setting for acceptable male behavior in modern society? What changes must be made now for men who wish to live healthier, happier, more fulfilled lives? What lessons must we teach our sons to ensure they won’t suffer¬†or create suffering as a result of their emotional immaturity and ignorance?

Here is the link to the blog article that got me thinking about all this:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9939308/richie-incognito-jonathan-martin-miami-dolphins-bullying-scandal

Here is a link to the story about the middle school football team:

http://elitedaily.com/news/world/can-learn-lot-middle-school-football-team-video/

I believe we are all familiar with how our culture and American society views and expresses masculinity, and how this culture defines being a “Man”. Boys are taught to be tough, to go for the kill, to compete, engage and destroy. Men are reminded to never show weakness, to suppress emotion, to grow beards and build muscles,¬† to overcome, pillage and conquer. These notions and ideas are antiquated leftovers, the dregs of a mentality that has little practical applicability to modern culture. However, these ideals persist, and we find the negative consequences from this kind of thinking in aspects of culture ranging from professional sports to politics to business. Problems arise when our men and boys don’t see these attributes and behaviors as metaphors, but rather as tangible characteristics they should develop and express. Problems arise when we forget to teach our boys and men¬†how to temper aggression¬†with¬†empathy, sympathy and compassion, and how to turn off the “killer instinct” when it is inappropriate. ¬†In the sport-specific examples above,¬†we forget these men and boys are playing a game,¬†not fighting a war, and we forget the “ripple effect” these stories have as they reverberate through our collective consciousness.

For¬† my part, I will tell you where my focus has shifted. While I value my “masculinity’ and what it feels like to “be a man”, ¬†I am also learning how to subvert this way of thinking and open myself up to expressing my manliness in ways that have nothing to do with aggression or violence. For example, I am learning new ways to express¬† humility toward my partner and my children through the¬†domestic endeavors of daily housework. I am learning compassion and patience from my kids, as I attempt to understand life from their perspective, and frame our interactions knowing they are still figuring out¬†how this crazy world works. ¬†I am learning more about trust and love as I work to make myself emotionally vulnerable to my partner and my intimate friends. I am stretching my boundaries and learning about courage by pursuing my desires without attachment to an outcome, but rather enjoying the process and the journey of what my life is right now.

None of this is easy work, and I am confronted by challenges on a daily basis that make me sit down and think hard. But, I’ve recognized the value of this work, and I continue to see positive changes in my own behavior, and I continue to recognize how my positive energy impacts the people with whom I interact. So, I am writing this post for a few reasons. If you are male-gendered and reading this, I encourage you to check the links I posted and feel how you react to these stories. I want you to turn a critical eye inward to determine where you find yourself on the spectrum of human behavior. Do you embody and express empathy, compassion, and sympathy in your everyday life? Why or why not? What example are you setting for other men,¬†OR if you are a father, what example are you setting¬†for your children?¬†If you are female-gendered and reading this, I want you to check the links, and think about how you interact with men in your life. Do you continue to accept and allow aggressive, offensive, hurtful behavior in your daily life? To what standard do you hold the men in your life? How can you take action to teach men this nastiness is unacceptable and it is time for a BIG CHANGE?

Ultimately, this isn’t a gender issue, but a HUMAN issue, and I understand that we all need to be working to prevent behaviors like bullying, racism, aggression and interpersonal violence. We all need to be working harder to proliferate behaviors of kindness, compassion, empathy and sympathy, because life is already hard enough, without any added interpersonal bullshit.¬†This post is part of my commitment to change, both in my personal life, and in the world around me. Won’t you join me? Thanks so much for reading this, and for participating in the Living Revolution :). Until next time…

Peace.Tobias.

Learning How to Share

Welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

In a recent conversation with one of my lovers, we¬†shared our stories¬† about when we realized “traditional” relationships were not going to be how we interacted with the world around us. I try to have this conversation with anyone I¬†know¬†who participates in non-monogamous, open, or poly relationships; we all have different paths and I love to hear how people become who they are now. ¬†She told me about how, when she was in¬†high school, ¬†“opening up” used to be her way of distancing herself from an already-imploding relationship. She used multiple relationships as a defense mechanism against boredom, or to avoid addressing issues in¬†her romantic relationships.¬†Eventually, she recognized the unhealthy pattern she was mired in and stopped. She also¬†learned how to effectively communicate with her lovers/partners, and found¬†a moral, ethical way to engage in multiple sexual, romantic relationships, and continues to enjoy her lifestyle choice.

I told her I wasn’t sure I remembered the exact moment. Go figure. I didn’t really have a story so instead, I explained¬†how many of the behaviors and personal characteristics that make people successful at multiple relationships, also simply contribute to that person being a pretty awesome human. (I know there are exceptions, and I know there are stereotypes, but generally, people who put in the effort required to be successful in this kind of lifestyle, tend to put that much effort in to other parts of there life as well, and people who put extra effort in to how they live their lives, tend to be better people.) Behaviors including honesty, compassion, compersion, generosity, and humility generally make people good at non-monogamy, and make people more pleasant, and generally, more pleasant people are better people. I explained how I had always made an effort to be a “good person” in my relationships , but it wasn’t until I met the sweetest love of my life that I really learned what it meant to apply these ideas to a romantic relationship.

In the beginning stages of our “opening up”, we were unconventional NOOBS. We experimented. A LOT. Perhaps we were foolish, perhaps we were na√Įve, perhaps we were ignorant. Nevermind, no “perhaps”.

We also learned about each other in a myriad of ways most people can’t even conceptualize.

We sacrificed for each other, we compromised, we held our breath and closed our eyes, and jumped off more than a few metaphorical¬† “edges”. We learned¬†that it was interesting to push the envelope, but it wasn’t always necessary.¬† We learned how to REALLY talk to each other, and we¬†learned how to communicate without saying a word. Needless to say, the experience of opening our relationship has contributed exponentially to the incredible relationship¬† we share today.

A large part of enjoying multiple relationships is understanding and participating in SHARING.¬† There are obvious scenarios and situations in which sharing is overt, and the object, person, or emotion being shared are unmistakable. A 3-some is the first thing that pops into my head: I’m sure you have your own examples :). ¬†There are other scenarios in which both partners must work hard to elucidate what is being shared. Sometimes this process of uncovering layers to reveal what you are both experiencing can be uncomfortable, but it is a necessary process in¬†learning how to share.

Most often when we think of sharing, we think of something positive, but¬†we also share in all kinds of negative experiences, which means we must also¬†learn how to empathize and how to commiserate with our partner. Beyond the share that goes on between you and your partner,¬†you¬†also¬†learn how to be comfortable and happy with sharing your partner with other friends, lovers and partners.¬† Typically, this is the point where traditional relationships often experience problems, but I am here to tell you that isn’t the road you need to take! Hallelujah, thank ya sweet baby Geebus!!

Try this instead. Think of the highest good you want for your partner. Do you want them to be happy? Do you want them to pursue their dreams, to chase their goals, to actualize the life they desire? How can you best facilitate these pursuits?¬† Once you answer these (and a few other) questions, you are well on your way to learning how to share. By practicing compersion , and feeling what it feels like to be happy for your partners happiness, you get to make their positive experience part of your positive experience. Trust and believe this requires focus and intent, and it will require you to unpack some of your own insecurities, and it might make you realize that IT ISN’T ALL ABOUT YOU, and then you might get over yourself, and remember how blessed you are, and let go of petty jealousy and really feel what it feels like to enjoy sharing. I’m not promising anything, but just maybe. You might learn something new about your partners needs, wants and desires, and you might find out you aren’t able to participate in fulfilling that need, and you might then realize¬†THATS OKAY. Giving up some of the responsibility for meeting your partners EVERY NEED is¬†a very liberating endeavor, and when you let go of worrying about constantly pleasing your partner, you can redirect that energy toward loving them for the complex, fascinating creature they are. All this and more can come from the conscious recognition of learning how to share.

There’s my two cents for today. It has been forever since I’ve written anything, and that feels like a good place to get back to this work. If you have thoughts on what I’ve written, please contact me and let’s start a conversation! Thanks for reading and thanks for participating in the Living Revolution :). Until next time…

Peace.Tobias.