The Cultured Warrior Newsletter #006
Thoughts To Ponder:
Why do you stay in prison when the door is wide open? ~ Rumi
I was at a gas station recently and the clerk routinely asked me how I was doing and I said, “Pretty well.” She grumbled, “That make’s one of us.” I responded, “Happiness is a choice.” Before looking up she replied, “Not when you get called in on your day off.” I paused for a long moment before handing her money, long enough for her to awkwardly look up from the register and for me to lean in before saying; “Ma’am, you just made another choice.” She didn’t get it, but hopefully you will. Of course, bad shit out of our control will always happen. What we often take for granted is just how much power and control we do have in our lives. Think of what a powerful change be made if every time you said “I can’t do X because…” or “I would, but…”; you re-framed to “X has happened and gotten in the way of Y, and I will still do Z.”
Every word has a consequence, every silence too. ~ Sartre
This is another tough pill for a lot of people to swallow and something that’s often overlooked — the action of inaction. We all know that actions have consequences; be they “good” or “bad.” What often get’s overlooked is that our choice to not act, or to not speak, is still that; a choice. Just as our choices to do have consequences, or rather reactions if you’re intent on being non-judgmental, so do our choices to not do.
Things I’m Reading:
This is for the BJJ nerds out there, and there are a lot of us! The short version here is that “simulated” BJJ fights seem to be primarily anaerobic-lactic in nature (so called “strength / power endurance). There is a notable increase in lactic-acid build up throughout bouts; though it does seem to dissipate rather quickly. What’s pretty cool is that we see a decrease in hand grip strength (though isometric) after a wrestling / BJJ bout (or several); but an increase in vertical (dynamic-reactive) jump. Part of this is basic physiology, fine motor skill (handwriting) are going to decay faster than gross motor skills (bench press). But we all know athletes (in any sport) tend to perform batter, later in the season when they’re “in the zone” and actually their physical conditioning (that they likely rallied in the off season) is declining. This is also confirms that fighters need more HIIT than LISS. Though, as I’ve discussed before both have use-case applications. In fact, I’ll have to try and dig up another study I found regarding the “intervals” themselves being comprised of alactic and lactic anaerobic response, but alas; I’ll leave that for another day.
“Positive psychology may use the language of positivity, yet implicitly condone ideas about deficit and dysfunction within the person, and talk about growth, yet promote practices that quietly curtail freedom and self-direction. In this way, positive psychology may yet learn from humanistic psychology that our ideas about how to treat people are always based in our visions of human nature.” I’ll gladly state my bias as a “humanistic” psychology professional, having won an award named after my existential-humanistic graduate department’s founder is kind of a big deal, so I should disclose that. I quite like this article as it really gets at the heart of the matter and how certain “human” elements are precariously missing by focusing solely on the positive. Perhaps I need to regulate my own knee-jerk response that “purely positive is pure BS” (at least when it comes to dog training). Of course, humans (and our relationships) are ineffably more complex than dogs. The take home here for me, is that we get the same kind of error with “positive psychology” as we do when assuming that motivation alone will carry us through our tribulations. In fact, motivation will fail you when you need it most. Likewise, gratitude is easy when things are going well, however it’s when things are absolutely miserable that the power and grace of gratitude solidify us.
Something that has really burned my britches throughout the entire pandemic is what an afterthought our children’s well-being is. My how we’ve taken for granted, and how presumptuous we’ve become as adults to think that, we know everything and that we’ve always known everything. I have posted before about how critical it is for children to be able to connect, attach, and relate to and with other peers and adults alike. Yes, including facial expressions and with skin-to-skin contact — this goes back to the very foundation of attachment theory. It’s a dramatic understatement to say that screens and technological gadgetry are a poor substitute in this regard. I also posted last week about empathy, and that it in fact does not “work” the same way in online communication (therapy in the case of that study) and that it’s only perceptible benefit is under the in-human condition of barriers between people and blockading of mirrored facial expressions — sound familiar to anyone?
Resources To Thrive:
- Sacred Cow (book / documentary): If people are interested in how you can save the planet by eating more, yes more, meat and promote animal welfare and provide the most nutrient dense foods on the planet to your body, I highly recommend this documentary for an introduction. Then, go pick up the book for a few bucks used on Amazon. I’ve given several copies away as gifts already!
- Diabetes:M ( Android | Apple): This is the app that I use to monitor my blood sugar and A1C. While I love Cronometer (for other reasons), Diabetes:M does a nice job of churning out some nifty graphs to help visualize things like blood-glucose variability and metabolic control.
- Why weaponize the “startle flinch?”: Here you have the best boxer in the world right now, one of the all time greats, executing a near perfect primal (flinch) > protective “SPEAR”. During initial impact did he immediately start flinging devastating counter punches? No. Everybody flinches in an ambush. Everybody.