A while back - like 17 years ago to be precise - I spent a couple months one summer working the hop picking season at the family farm of a friend of mine. It was pretty arduous and grueling for me and pretty much everyone involved and I would not recommend it - mostly cause it was (I'm not exaggerating, really seriously, I'm not this time) 6 straight weeks of 12 hour a day shifts 7 days a week. Talk about harsh. I chose the night shift cause standing around in the hot summer sun (or even shade) for 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 6 weeks is my idea of hell wrapped up in more hell - but that meant standing on scaffolding 3 stories up (that's where my particular job was located) for 12 hours straight through the night and not falling asleep or falling period. Super harsh. And, ya know, I realize that in order for us to get our beer someone's gotta do this work - and, in fact, someone does do it - but I will also tell you that, aside from the head dude who came around every once in a while, I was the only white person for miles that summer.
But that whole slave labor farming thing isn't really what I'm here to tell you about today. I'm here to tell you about some really cool stuff that's been going on in my life for a while now.
While I spent my days toiling away with the hops, I noticed a woman (it was her job to sweep the area underneath the scaffolding I was standing on) who quite often wore a t-shirt that said
and I thought that was just about the funniest t-shirt I'd ever seen. It wasn't until about an hour ago, however, that I realized that the Alcatraz Triathlon really exists. I always thought it was just a joke. But it's real! And if you're not up for the triathlon action you can volunteer to hand out water!
Anyway - It's just one of those weird things I've has swimming around in my head forever, and recently I was thinking about my own situation in a similar kind of way. Only mine might be more appropriately called the M...... Triathlon (a little while ago I decided to remove my last name from my blog, and if you are one of the lucky few who knows my last name then you might agree with me that the title of my triathlon is pretty funny, and if you are one of the unlucky masses who doesn't know my last name...well, then you can just slip your own name in there. And if you want to you can keep the "M" and turn it into "Mc" - a technique I always approve of.).
So, basically the M...... Triathlon is MEDITATE...DANCE...RUN/WALK/RUN. It pretty much sums up the current activities that have been going on in my many years long spiritual evolution. And I'd just like to share a bit about it all with you.
I'll start with the RUN/WALK/RUN.
It's not quite like that though.
I live out in the country so my walking and running involves some steep hills and country gravel roads and an old cemetery. I love my run/walk/run space - but what I really really love is some of the music I listen to while I'm walking and running. In fact, I think I can even be so bold as to say that some of the music I have chosen has made this whole walking/running experience so much fun that it (the music) is what makes me love the running and the walking. Or is at least a HUGE part of what makes me love it. So it's really important to me to have good music.
A while back I made some zip files of mashups I really like for a friend of mine that I liked to walk/run to cause we were talking about mashups and walking/running to music and I though she could benefit from this particular music. I realize that everyone has their own tastes in music and, well, exercise for that matter - but she wound up really liking a lot of it. And using it. So I thought I'd share my run/walk/run music with you all today. But that's not all I'm going to do. I have 2 zip files of a pretty wide variety of mashups that I really really like (and if you don't like mashups I totally get that, so see ya later or something) - but there are some very select songs that, I don't know what it is about them exactly, but that can make me almost feel like I'm flying when I'm running. Now, I really really get that not everybody's "I feel like I'm flying" music is the same as everyone else's - I mean a lot of this music might just make you laugh - but maybe you like laughing your head off while you're running. That's cool. In any case, if you want to see whether what works for me works for you, here's what I got to give. And no, I don't only listen to mashups - but there really is something amazing about some of them - how two ok or good or not so great songs can be put together to make something really interesting or cool or even magical. It seriously is like a magic trick to me if it's done particularly well.
So...here they are (please ignore the kim title on the first two zips - unless you're name happens to be kim).
Mashup mix 1
Mashup mix 2
I Might Feel Like I'm Flying Mashup Mix 3
Also, some of the songs I put in that last group are just plain funny - like the Buttery Biscuit Base one. But laughing while I'm running actually does it for me too. And what's really fun is to be listening to some of this music and getting to the really cool flying place and then closing your eyes while your running. Have you ever tried that? It's really cool! So maybe when you're on your treadmill somewhere, if that's what you do, you can give this a shot and close your eyes and keep running and see what I'm talking about. And don't worry about looking like an idiot. Most people at the gym look like idiots at some point - but especially if they're making one of those "I really freaking don't want to be doing this" looks - which you won't be doing anyway cause you'll be having too much fun closing your eyes while your flying and running.
Next up DANCE!
Kinda like that only there's not usually another chick around. And I haven't danced to a transistor radio since I was 8.
I'm not gonna say much here except that I LOVE TO DANCE. It has pretty much been an obsession for me ever since I first set foot in The Plaza club in Portland Oregon when I was 13. Most of my adult life I needed to get pretty drunk before I could really get down - but thankfully those days are over and I just dance around all over the place. But pretty much just by myself to a wide variety of music I have since there's no clubs out here in Scottsburg Oregon. It's actually been about 8 years since I've been to a club - but I haven't let that stop me. And much like the flying-running thing certain music makes my head swim and tingle and just feels so good. Kinda like when I'm meditating - which is coming up right about now...
Yeah, I know, she's not really meditating...but that's kinda one of my points coming up here.
See, after years of trying to figure out how to meditate and then finally getting a grasp on in a few years ago, and after lots of meditation practice, I really understand the whole concept that just about anything can be meditation. What meditation generally is is clearing your mind of thought - regardless of how short-lived that experience may be or how you get there or what you're doing once you get there. So for me I can get to the same place when I running or dancing as I can when I'm meditating or having a sexual experience or doing yoga or just listening to music and sitting around. And for other people that thing that gets you there is probably totally different. I truly believe that no matter what it is you do, if you can get to a place of calm or relief or tingly feelings or joy or ecstasy it's all great and it's all pretty much in the same vicinity.
I'm not a very big proponent of following rules or doing what other people do just cause they seem like they know what they're doing or a bunch of other people think they know what they're doing. I go by feel. Sometimes during my spiritual search goings on I have felt like I wasn't sure about something or was afraid I was doing something wrong and, invariably always came to the conclusion that what I was feeling or experiencing was ok and even really really good. Like after a while of meditating I started seeing bright purple lights during meditation and wanted to find out if that was normal and I found some meditation forum where some dude was saying that that is normal but it's a distraction and the goal is to surpass the distractions and get on with the real meditating or whatever and I was all "Wait a minute!" To me this is the meditating. The purple lights are AMAZING and I could stare at them all day and maybe I'm just not enlightened enough to ignore the purple lights and move on to the real, proper meditating - but I really just don't care. End of story.
If you're into it, this list (one of many many many on the web) details some emotional and physical side effects of spiritual growth or awakening. I know it's a little out there for some people - but I found it really really helpful when I had doubts about what I was doing and how sick I sometimes felt. I mean that vibration flu thing is real!
So that's about it for the spiritual growth triathlon action. I think the reason what I'm doing makes me think of that Alcatraz Triathlon t-shirt is cause all this stuff I'm doing has really just become my life right now and has, well really what it has done is helped me escape from my life that I used to have. I mean - there's other stuff I do - but this stuff is the meaningful stuff and I'm pretty obsessed with it. And not in a creepy obsessed way either. In a man-I-can't-believe-how-much-fun-this-stuff-is way. And I can't believe how much my life has changed way too.
So if you're into it download the music and see if you like it. And do whatever it is that makes you feel good. AND don't listen to anyone who tells you that anything that you do that makes you feel good is wrong. Cause it ain't.
It's all really really good. :)