I love putting movies on as background noise when I'm doing other things around the house. A consistent pick for me is World War Z starring Brad Pitt. There is a line in that movie that I always seem to hear when I'm not paying attention. The exact line is “Movement is life. I’ve been in dangerous places. Those who survived move.” Hopefully, I never have to move to escape the zombie apocalypse. In reality, a lack of movement (exercise) in a non-zombie environment appears to be just as dangerous for different reasons. Certainly, exercise in and of itself has a health benefit but that's not what I am referring to. One of the greatest dangers we face is social isolation which I believe in correlated with a lack of exercise or adapted movement. I have only recently began to exercise consistently after a three year hiatus As I look back upon this time I've noticed that this three year road ended in reduced engagement and an increase in social isolation. My feedback loop became the following - sitting on the couch watching the news while scrolling through social media. This gave rise to thoughtless feeding frenzies where I gained 30 pounds. This unnecessary weight increase led to more couch time, more TV/Social Media, more snacks, zero movement. My dead end was a self imposed isolation. You don't need zombies to be in mortal danger. I'm not alone, 50 percent of Americans suffer from significant rates of loneliness Research indicates that loneliness increases stress hormones, blood pressure, inflammation and a whole host of other negative symptoms including adverse gene expression at the cellular level. Those who are socially isolated suffer from higher all-cause mortality, and higher rates of cancer, infection and heart disease. The exercise program I began two months ago titled, HOWFARHOWFAST, click on HOWFARHOWFAST to follow my progress on Instagram, had unintended consequences. I started engaging with former players and adventure travelers. I felt confident engaging in nature which gave me this feeling of being alive that I wanted to share with my wife and other people. In my opinion, if you want to reduce loneliness begin exercising. Brad Pitt was right, "Movement is life" because it allows you to engage in activities that you can share with other people. The reason I slipped into St. Mary's falls in Glacier National Park (the video above) is that I had the confidence that I could tolerate the cold, swim out, and greet my wife on the banks of the river. Next year I'll jump into it. More movement, More life!
- Jul 29, 2019
- 2 min read
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Glacier National Park is that place. It reveals something inside of you. It connects with being. Being just IS. A singularity; Zero fragmentation or division. Lori and I were hiking in an area known as Avalanche Lake - The Trail of the Cedars. This is a special creation. The hike winds on the edge of the easternmost Pacific Northwest. The Cedars on this margin can rise one hundred feet in the air and have a diameter of over six feet. They ascend from a blanket of thick green moss and ferns. When you step off the trail and onto the moss there is this give. It feels hollow beneath your feet but yet stable, soft. My glance from the trail turned into a stare, that morphed into trance, that settled on BEING. Enchanted by the trees. There is no depth and an infinite depth simultaneously. You know it can't go on forever but it appears too.
I left the trail and traveled deeper into BEING, just far enough so I could see the trail, my wife. I turned away from the trail into the vastness of trees. I was in a meditative state without meditating. I don't know how long I was there, more than five, less than15 minutes. Contentment came over me. I was experiencing "soft focus", a phrase I was introduced too in an article titled Is Surfing More Sport or Religion. Soft Focus creates solitude without loneliness. It is a state of flow, an absorption. Wherever your battery is - dead, full, low, medium, you get more. It's rejuvenation in a glance. Later, I reflected on the impact of this moment. The cedar trees had triggered a wave of dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline release. It was poured right down my optic nerve but I felt it through every sense. My brain was awash in in neurotransmitters and hormones producing a sense of well being and calm. You might be wondering, adrenaline? Somewhere in that trance I knew there were grizzly bears out there in the trees and beyond. I was gambling in that flow state and it makes you feel more alive. Enchanted by the duality of being hyper alert but calm simultaneously. Just Being. It's a great feeling. If you get the opportunity to travel to Avalanche lake, take it. If not plant a tree somewhere.