Brian H.

Brian H.

Kenzai Member

Reach is a great program. On the plus side I think it's the perfect program to connect your mind and body. I'm much more flexible now and even though the last time I did Reach was a year ago, it all came back and I am more flexible than when I last finished.

I struggled with the diet, mostly late night snacking and this is the area that always gets me. I missed a few workouts as a result of busy work times and some travel. That being said, I did my best to stick with it and I find Reach to be a valuable and thoughtful program. Thanks to all of you who commented on the blogs with thoughtful comments and support!


Well it’s been a little bonkers. I was solo with my two kiddos for five days while my wife was helping her parents move. Then I had to pack us up and fly East to meet up with her and her parents. Needless to say, I was inconsistent on getting the exercise done. Missed a couple days. But that’s life. I’m back in the game though and it feels good to be into routine. I’ve learned over the past two years doing Kenzai that balance is not equal to perfection. Balance is shooting for perfection, doing your best, meeting the needs of your life and family and then being compassionate with yourself wherever you land.

twist and shout

Good week of getting things done. On track with the stretching and through in push ups and sit ups most days. Diet, OK, not perfect, but better than not being on a program.

Big question: Unexpected twists and the hidden gem within them. Yes! Currently going through one of those in my life right now. Although it's a huge bummer that it's happening, I'm doing my best to be present in the situation and overall, it's given me insight and an opportunity for reflection. No offense on being vague, just don't want to put it out there until this particular twist is, well, not a twist anymore.

This is the best way to approach a twist. With a leopard print cardigan and a white T-shirt.

The Roller Coaster Path

Well, the last week had some pros and cons.
Pros: Successfully added in legs, arms and abs 5 out of the 7 workouts this weeks.
Cons: Diet was a total fail with all the end of the school year celebrations and celebratory cocktail nights. Missed two evening stretch sessions.

Think about a time when Life knocked you down. How did you bounce back?

I suppose Brain Surgery in High School was the most significant knock down for me. I bounced back by accepting help from others and surrounding myself with friends and family. As I've gotten older, I've relied less on family and friends and tried to just go it alone. A typical American male response which is not very helpful. Armoring up, acting tough, and suffering quietly seemed to be my mode in my 30s, rather than being open to the idea that I simply need help often. I'm trying to get better at having compassion for myself and taking help when folks offer it. And compassion for myself results in more compassion for others. Trying to be a better listener and put my own story away while I listen to others. That change doesn't happen over night, but I'm trying to stay the path.

Going to try and get back on the blogs to support the team this week. Keep on Reaching, folks!


A quick post for me because it is all ramping up right now. End of the school year wackiness related to teaching. I added time onto my jump rope this morning and also threw in pushups, situps and squats just to get some daily strength exercise because I'm missing that. I'll plan on doing an arms, legs, and abs exercise daily and 10 minutes a day jump roping to see if that feels a little better. Keep up the good work, reachers! Pardon me if I don't get around to commenting on people's blogs this week!

What a great question. I've been listening to/watching a lot of Brene Brown (there's a special on Netflix if you are curious) lately and one idea that she pushes a lot is how to you stay open with people who don't agree with you. Like REALLY don't agree with you. I think it's easy to dismiss someone that you simply don't agree with because their ideas seem so polar opposite to yours. Like what do you do with that personality who seems to be actively trying to be hurtful? Or to be cruel or hurtful to you. How can you really open up to that person and look for compassion and try and move in close to see if you can both find common ground. I think this is ultimately about what Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy-an amazing read/listen) refers to as proximity. If you don't have proximity, there is no way to get through that conflict. And how in the world can you get close in really tough situations like when someone else is in a position of power and you are not. I just listened to a recent On Being Podcast that my wife reccomended with Rami Nashibi and Lucas Johnson and one of them talked about driving by a scene where many police officers had stopped some young African American boys. And the act of just stopping and watching and letting the boys know they were being seen by and ally made a difference, and the police officers were able to look at the situation in a different way. And that was risky, but they knew no one else would stop. So. What are those situations where we need to risk a lot to gain a lot? That's how I want to be open. To be proximate, be present, be open to opposing perspectives, look at situations from love and not from anger or defensiveness. It's a tall order, for sure; but if we all just tried that, well, wouldn't that be grand?

Intro and big question

1) Where are you Reach-ing? San Francisco
2) How you found Kenzai: My good pals Tuck and Kate got my wife and I into the program about two years ago.
3) TV show on Netflix/book/podcast you recommend. (This will come in handy starting Monday.) Russian Doll, Collateral, Godless in the Netflix fiction department. Wild, Wild country is one of the best documentaries ever. So binge worthy. Podcasts: The Daily is awesome and I'm a big fan of On Being as well.

The big question: What beliefs and philosophies do you base your life choices on?

I would have to go back and see how I answered this last time I did Reach. I'm guessing it will be similar. I think for the last year I've taken inspiration in an existential view. That word always freaks people out, but my interpretation of existentialism is that we all have choice in making any decision. That freedom, which seems liberating, can actually be overwhelming. How do you choose wisely with so many options? Existentialism says: make authentic choices in the face of absurdity. And being authentic is different for every person. I just read Man's Search for Meaning and Frankl goes so far as to say that in any decision there is only one right answer for each person and it should be your goal to find that right decision. But hey, no pressure. :-) Russian Doll on Netflix is very existential and that's probably why I liked it so much.

Happy to be reaching with all of you! Good luck this first week.

Here we go!

Hard to believe I've been doing Kenzai for two years. I've been doing daily workouts (for the most part) since my last program and stuck with the diet (for the most part) but it will be good to tighten things up and eliminate those not so good things that creep into my diet (sweets!) I did Reach last year and am excited to do another round. Work tension, life tension has been great as of late, so it will be nice to stretch out and focus on connecting my mind and body. Good luck to all you other Reachers out there!

Stretchy stretch 

Reach was awesome. I was skeptical that I would be able to stay fit just by stretching, but it was clear quickly that the thoughtful exercises were more than just stretching. I particularly loved starting my days by stretching and it was a really fantastic way to lean gently into the day. I switched my diet partway through to eating just veggies and that has been an interesting experiment. I'm enjoying a veggie diet so far although I've cheated a couple times since we've been on the east coast and Lobster as been a temptation. I'm excited to get into the Kenzai Body workouts for summer and I think I'll incorporate some reach stretches in there as well. Thanks to everyone who commented on the blog and for the support through the program!

analog app

Didn’t want to take my computer or phone out to the the doc because it seemed like rain
may be coming. so I whipped up some quick sketches for the morning exercise.

Plugging along and feeling flexible!

Summer crunch

I'm overdue on blogging. It's been a scramble to finish a freelance project and wrap up my 23rd year as a teacher. Now we're packing up our house and getting ready to head to the east coast for 6 weeks. Summertime! Looking forward to focusing on family, art, cooking and exercise.

Rolling along with Kenzai. I've missed a couple evening stretch sessions, but staying strong with everything else. Loving Reach still and also looking forward to getting back into the bands and abs post Reach.

Knocked down

Question of the week:
Think about a time when you life knocked you down. How did you come back to equilibrium, and what did you learn from the experience?

Feels like lots of times recently. I guess the toughest times have been the 3 times in the last two years we've had to give our son an epi pen due to anaphylaxis. Easily the scariest moments of my life. Not easy bouncing back, but really it came down to getting back into the routine of life and relying on the love and compassion of friends and family, most importantly from my amazing wife. I try and treasure every moment with our kids, even when they are making life bonkers. All in all, it's that old cliche of getting back on the horse after a bad fall. No other choice.

I've had a pretty awesome week in terms of diet, resisting the sugar cravings and staying clean with some minor slips. I've noticed that I just feel better when saying no to the sweets than I do saying yes. And the funny thing with sugar is that one is never enough. one m&m leads to 30. So this week was a pretty awesome start to a new focus on diet.


Question of the week: What negative trends are going on in your life? What positive trends are going on in your life?

I'm trending towards too many sweets. Since KB1 I've just really struggled resisting the temptation of chocolate and cookies etc. I need to find some strategies to move in the right direction on that front. I think, using my logical mind is probably the best way to go, as in "This is not good for my body and longevity, I should choose better options.

A positive trend is that I'm really trying to be better at getting enough sleep every night (7-8 hours) and it's been going well. It takes focus and determination, but it feels good!

What's closed off?

Question of the week: What part of your life feels locked-up and closed-off? What's one thing you can do to create more space and openness around the issue?

First of all, the math thing from the Openess Lesson of the day is totally true for me, but I won't go into that. I think if I'm really honest with myself I need to make more space around being open to spontaneity and what happens when plans change. I pretty much panic and go into disaster mode when the plan changes. This is unreasonable for the world we live in. If I were to be more open, I would allow myself compassion for those situations and patience for myself as I adjust to new plans.

I've shared this before on Kenzai, but this is really worth the 20 minutes it takes to watch this video. His idea about how the Conversational Nature of Reality works is really interesting. The notion is that what we expect of the universe and reality, isn't going to play out that way. And likewise, the expectations put on us by the world, is also is not going to play out that way either. Life is an unfolding conversation. So my goal is to engage that conversation.


Question of the week from Reach: What beliefs and philosophies do you base your life choices on?

I've recently had the discovery that I am an existentialist. I know. Stay with me. That term EXISTENTIALISM gets thrown around a lot without much thought to what it means. In a nutshell, though, the idea of Existentialism is that life is absurd and that we may as well engage that absurdity and live authentically. How can I argue with that. Life has been pretty darn absurd for my family in the last year as we deal with our son who has significant health issues. So as I've made decisions lately, I've been asking myself what it means to be authentic. How can I choose paths that have good intentions and good benefits? Life is absurd. I can moan about it, shake my fist at it, or accept it and move through that absurdity trying to be as authentic and thoughtful as possible. For a crash course in Existentialism check this out:




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