I awaken early in the morning, usually between three and four; it is when the angels stir me, when I am at my mental best and ready to begin the day. This morning I was up right before three. After some ritualistic stretching and sharpening, I was out the door by four. Temps were 73 degrees and balmy. Recovering from some tendonitis in my left knee, I started easy and stuck to the roads for nine miles under the light of a nearly full moon. I live by a wonderful large lake, so my early runs usually find me stopping to rinse off and pause to enjoy the light of stars reflecting on the still water. This morning I stripped down after five o'clock and enjoyed a wonderful dip in the perfectly calm waters of the lake under the moon's screaming white array. Laying back quietly and looking up into the eternal night sky I became the lake, I became moon, I became the whip-or-will calling in the distance, and all of eternity in between. It was a moment outside of time. Emerging to air-dry naked in the full moonlight, I donned my shoes and felt like a kid again as I began to quick-step my way back home.
Life is good. I look forward to every moment of every day and never seem to have enough time to take it all in. I appreciate that it is attitude, not aptitude, that determines altitude. However, I have been gifted with both. Every day is a miracle, and every meal is a feast. Every moment is an opportunity for giving and being grateful. I came here to learn, and I came here to grow, and cannot afford to waste a moment. I am called to live heroically and to tell a good story.
I'll soon begin my seventh decade this time around, but still have much to learn. Growth comes only through suffering, so I seek challenge and opportunity that is not comfortable, but risky. I grow more by doing hard things and attempting things that others fear to do. If I'm not tired, I'm sleeping too much. If I'm not hungry, I'm eating too much. Growth and fulfillment come when we embrace discomfort and adversity and struggle to overcome the tough stuff. I have a pull-up bar above my office door that keeps the Marine in me young and fit most times I come and go. If something is easy, if I always succeed at doing it, then I need to try something harder. If I'm not covered in perspiration, there is no inspiration.
After my morning exercise, what I put into my body for nourishment is what I am made of. While I do break some of the rules, I treat the edifice of my body as the holy sanctuary that it is. I drink the juice of one lemon in water upon rising. I juice one bunch of celery every day to cleanse and nourish every cell throughout my body. Then, seasonally, I liquefy a combination of apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, spinach, blueberries and cherries to wash down a variety of toning supplements that hopefully optimize and extend my interaction with the world.
If there is one Spartan characteristic that I personally desire to hone further it would be to demonstrate a greater clarity in my words and actions – to become more laconic by cultivating the habit of speaking more concisely without wasted words or gestures. This blog is an exercise in mental acuity and concise communication. Now if I can just get my mouth to come in line with my thinking, I would make a fine Spartan warrior.