Paul T.

Paul T.

Kenzai Member
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Significance Between The Eyes  
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... There's no need to hide... We're safe tonight. This was a Great Run on Mind for me, as a very experienced and committed Meditator. I gained some new knowledge, faced some new challenges and walked away with an even deeper commitment to a practice that I find life saving. I teach meditation and spiritual purification and oversaw a workshop the final weekend in St Joe Michigan at Yoga Life. It was very good for me to clearly see the vast difference between having a real flesh and blood teacher and taking an online course. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with MY Teacher Shinzen Young 20 years ago who explained to me: "Meditation is not a quick fix. But its a very very deep, perhaps even the deepest, fix." He energetically exuded a direct experience of the spiritual Source - what the Christians call The Prayer of Quiet or Recollection, the Taoist’s call Showee, the Buddhists Samadhi, Islam Dhikr, Judaism Kavanah and the indigenous people of the USA - Wicozani – The Inner Life, or the Good Life. All I teach today is what he taught to me - the technique of Body Image Talk and See Hear Feel coupled with Native American Ceremonial Practices - and its afforded me a Happiness beyond my own imagining. So if you want your Meditation practice to take root and flourish, or you're one of those people who is letting this all go knowing its not the path for you right now, go and find a real Teacher!

Regarding Kenzai Mind specifically, I enjoyed it. I love that there was a nod to venerable Master Lin Chi, as I jokingly refer to him as one of my Boys — he's the coolest. And I never hijacked the program as I feared I might, simply another bozo on the bus, taking in teachings on the history and evolution of Buddhism as well as some of the other (meditation) bells and (eagle bone) whistles. I must say I had really hoped for a Mind community where everyone removed their masks like good (or bad) Heyokas and then shared from their secret hearts, but that didn't happen with this team. I enjoyed reading Thibeault's posts and we (sorta) went to see a movie together, which was fun. I DID scratch around and found some other posts - as I was advised to when teams are dodgy - to discover sharing of the deep, painful and vulnerable variety, particularly on Team Eliot with thanks to Jenny and Ed, beautiful stuff on applying mind-training to challenging family relationships and employing it to heal past traumas. I used to get frustrated with Kenzai teams when I dubbed the comments shallow and the support thin, but I've disabused myself of that notion. My Native American Chief Mentor used to say "When you find fault with someone else, that's your fault." In other words, if someone outside of my own self upsets me or I view them in a negative way, its My Job to correct and calm that. I'm just not seeing correctly. It has little to do with them, so get over your self. "No Self No Problem" my Teacher Shinzen is fond of saying. Working to understand the underpinnings of the Self (or lack thereof!), Sadhana, "a means of accomplishing something", work we do on ourselves for ourselves, is 50% of what Meditation is all about. The other 50% is Seva, selfless service, the work we do for the world and others. All that said, I'm a better meditator and a better teacher after Mind.

From here, its into the Holidays, Christmas in central Michigan and Detroit and then I'm off to Shinny's Year-End/Year-Beginning 12 day silent meditation retreat that I go to every year in southern CA. January is my vacation time so I'll spend the second half of the month in Hawaii, and then will be on the Body 2 Train January 20th. Next to Chisel, Body 2 is my favorite Kenzai program — at the end of it I was the most fit I'd ever been — so I'm looking forward to getting back in top form (starting with hiking the mountains of Kauai!) and then the discipline of a 90 day program, which I didn't do all '19. It's long with a a slow ramp up which I'll appreciate as I won't be back from vaca until Feb 1. That's about it for now - Love You guys, gals, Happy Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and a Very Merry New Year, Om Mani Padme Hum, Oṃ tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭi-vardhanam urvārukam iva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya mā 'mṛtāt (ॐ त्र्य॑म्बकं यजामहे सु॒गन्धिं॑ पुष्टि॒वर्ध॑नम् उ॒र्वा॒रु॒कमि॑व॒ बन्ध॑नान् मृ॒त्योर्मुक्षीय॒ मा ऽमृता॑त् ), Aloha!


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I was going to put this up as my Graduation Post Photo but wanted to weigh in just a bit more on the Kenzai Mind program. At some point during this run I found myself in Portland Maine and fulfilled a Bucket List dream : buy Ward Willis a Beer. Thank Heaven for Mind's Breezy Diet. I haven't given a ton of thought to Ski Boot, but when I consider the prospect of snowboarding the Maine backcountry with one of its wilder cats, it just might happen. May be a winter or two away as the man and I are both mobile, but I have a text to prove that he's buying the next round. More from the cushion shortly to close this one Out (hands in Gassho)


Up From The Rabbit Hole
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The Rabbit Hole yawned around Thanksgiving and down I went at least vis-a-vis blogging. Family (of Origin) Circus indeed! It was all predicted at the opening. But happy to say I'm feeling pretty positive about staying on practice and have really enjoyed the sits, lessons and learning. In the past the Holidays have come and my diet and exercise disciplines (especially around Kenzai) virtually disappear, so it feels good to be more mindful and in balance. Hope to stay on the beam through Xmas and NYs. Happy to hear everyone reporting some positive results despite some struggles.


Happy Thanksgiving All!
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It may LOOK like I'm on the sidelines at the Southborough, Massachusetts annual Gobble Wobble, but I quickly joined the fray. And even though I walked the 3.1 miles/5 K course, I DID bring my jump rope and got in some skipping as well. "I am grateful for what I have and am," said Henry David Throreau (whose Walden Pond we walked around yesterday) "My Thanksgiving is perpetual." Keeping the indulgences reasonable and looking forward to some quiet time in up in The Maine coastal Woods this weekend. Happy Tday from East Coast USA!


Chop Wood Carry Water
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Just prior to rolling out for the Thanksgiving Holiday I had a day on the farm stacking wood and doing chores that left me both exhausted and elated... Working with feelings of Fatigue is one of the biggest challenges I face in meditation... Just now catching up on this week's Lessons and heading into Thanksgiving Indulgence Land... I'm at my sister's outside Boston where I took in a hot yoga class, walked around Thoreau's Walden Pond and hit the local Gobble Wobble... all is well here hoping to enjoy a family dinner with drama at a low hum.. employing some of the techniques from the Rock/Metta Meditation that I found helpful, citing relationships that challenge us! Hope All is Well with You All.


On Being a Complete Putz
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That's a reference to being an experienced Meditator and perhaps over sharing on this program. I'm very much enjoying the intelligent, intricate Kenzai take on developing a regular sitting practice. However, when I saw a BIG RED X on Seiza - the Japanese term for sitting on your knees - and then read that "(Seiza) is not recommended for longer meditation" I thought that's not right - who had a bad trip on Seiza? I looked for it through the Lessons now & perhaps the BIG RED X was edited out . That's good because Seiza is cool and works really well to root down into the Earth while your head is in the Heavens, relaxed but comfortable. Everything else is so good, I Love the just-right workouts and hope to post on the diet, which is also pretty tight with an occasional indulgent detour, but for the most part on point until American Thanksgiving next week. More from the cushion soon, Om Mani Padme Hum All!


I Only Own My Mind
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... I am mine. Eddie Vedder's take aside, Hello All! My name is Paul and I'm quite late but very excited to jump on the caboose of this chugging Mind train . Speaking of Mind Train(ing), the pic above is of me with my Native American Spiritual Teacher, circa 2003. I jokingly say his name was Wicasa Itankan Tatanka Weitgo, also known as Phil. Phil was a Sicangu Lakota Sioux Chief of the Brulé Burnt Thigh People of Rosebud South Dakota who was my teacher from 1999 - 2006, when he rolled on to the world of The Spirit. Circa 1998 I went to a week-long meditation retreat in Tucson, Arizona with a man named Shinzen Young. At the end of that week we did a Sweatlodge Ceremony with a Shaman named Rupert of the Tahano O'odham people, one of the Sonoran Desert tribes. I had a spiritual experience in that Ceremony, markedly altering my life. I started going to Indian Ceremonies with regularity and a year later I met Phil. Somewhere on The Red Road a dream was born within me to recapture what occurred for me and offer that to others. 20 years later that's my Life.

I reside in South Haven, Michigan, two hours northwest of Chicago, Illinois, Midwest USA. I've spent the last five years building up a Meditation & Spiritual Retreat Center called The Higher Haven after buying a 20 acre farm at the end of 2014, and in 2020 it all takes flight. I'm a HUGE Kenzai devotee, as it revolutionized my physical form at age 50, and so I'm excited for a course that takes on the Mind & Spirit as well as Body. What scares/excites me about this course is that I know a lot about meditation and Ceremonial/spiritual purification (as it relates to the indigenous people of the Americas) so I'll say too much and just end up looking like a Putz. In other words, teaching meditation is my job and I'm good at it (check out Shinzen - he is the meditation teachers meditation teacher and has a bunch of schizz on Utube), so I'm super stoked to catch up on all the lessons today, follow them, and adopt True Beginner's Mind. What gets me excited/jazzed is helping others by influencing their spiritual lives and in doing so fostering my own.

As to obstacles, I have to spend time with the ol' family of origin for Thanksgiving on this run (I had an extremely difficult beginning to my life, hence all the psycho/spiritual Work) so that'll be interesting, as I'm fond of adopting the victim stance, so it'll be pretty killer to be on a Kenzai program where there's an opening to be open, transparent and vulnerable at a whole new, almost unnerving level. I'm also out of there the day after T-Day as I try and limit my time spent with my family because there's a lot of darkness & dysfunction and yes they still can cause me cosmic dissonance, all in the hopes Beer and Ward Willis will play a role in my ongoing quest for Salvation. If you think you're enlightened, the family of origin is always a good litmus test! Lol I do my best to Love them as I do myself as I will you All. Namaste & Hokahey


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Boom! T-Shirt Blast Was Exactly That.  
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Loved busting the guns out and doing a Kenzai program with dumbbells. I've been eyeing Iron for over a year now so it was a super cool introduction to a Kenzai/Weight Training Program. Somewhere during the short run - maybe the start of week 3 - I had to take an unexpected trip to the East coast. That jaunt made it tough to get 'er done, and there was also an odd period where there seemed to be tumbleweeds blowing across the Kenzai Stream because I was receiving Zero comments as was everyone else. It may have to do with the switch to the new app. All that said, I stayed somewhat on diet and at this point am excited to get on The Mind train - which Ward said is running on the old platform for now - to close the year out strong. Much Love to Patrick for the creative, engaging new BLASTS, as they are just that. Going to do my first Sit now, as I'm an ardent meditator and have been for almost 20 years, so I'm looking forward to what's next. More from my Mind in Mind shortly.


Back on the K-train
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(Sung to Back On The Chain Gang) Hey all! my name is Paul from Southwest Michigan USA... enjoyed a good summer with a Beach BLAST (which was exactly that) into a 2nd run of Chisel... I took Patrick's advice to do a month or so off with a lil' yoga but then went to get back at it in September and stretched it to a few non complaints extra weeks + plenty of craft beer... I'm amazed at how my results have held and am excited to crank it back up with the T Blast... loved the article on picking or tweaking a Halloween custom to exhibit your physique (Love Kenzai's fitness wisdom & creative spins) as Halloween goes OFF in my semi-agricultural rural area, so it'll be good to get back on the beam and drop some paunch before the Shenanigans resume... loaded up on Avocados and fruit snacks per the photo ... excited for a Kenzai program that includes dumbbells as I've been eyeing IRON for quite a while.... "Iron like a Lion in Zion.... Running (or Lifting rather) like a Fugitive... only the fittest of the fittest Shall Survive, Stay Alive...." got Bob cranking in the background and headed out to the gym now, Great Weeks all around!


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Chizeled The Sequel  
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I took this pic when I flew over Hong Kong in February, thinking there were Kenzai peeps some where near the watery wind farm below (wing bank). Just to keep it short and sweet - this team was pretty thin, thinner than my Chisel 1 crew, so I was good, I was seasoned, I was prepped to get it done in a singular fashion, and the coaching lead by the mighty Sharmali Arumugathasan ~ just saying that is an Awesome Exercise, like a Hindu chant ~ carried me through. Thanks to Kate (where'd Kate go?), Swanand and Jude... not much more to say... Happy withe the hardcore Chisel 2 run as its hard but well worth it and hoping to make HIIT a part of my repertoire after a bit of well-earned rest. Happy Summer All, with Yoga and Swimming and a few weeks of down-time ahead, hope to see you for a Kenzai circle up come early September. Namaste


V for Victory (Almost)
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That's me out in the cool waters of Lake Mishigama, an Ojibwe word meaning 'Great Water' aka Lake Michigan. The workouts are a bit brutal at this late hour, so I treat myself to a post pounding swim. The first time I did Chisel in the Fall of '18 I COULD NOT WAIT for it to be over, as it seemed so so hard. This time around? Not so bad, much easier, which I find encouraging. I AM looking forward to THE END though, as it'll be swimming, yoga and country road walks the rest of the summer. At this point I'm feeling like I really Earned it, and am very much looking forward to some pasta dinners and a beer or two. That said, I just bought 5 bananas, one to devour before each of the five final workouts, and will start salting my meals and drinking the apropos amount of water - whether a lot or little - to punk out that Final Photo per a lesson in Beach Blast. There may be a Chisel Lesson on prepping the body for photography, I forget, but I'm loving Kenzai right now, feeling grateful for my optimum health at age 52, and happy that every time I catch my reflection in a window walking about I can't help but smile wide. Hope everyone is feeling like all the abject suffering and pain is well worth the gains and see you all at the Finish line this weekend.


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Loved today's lesson on the stair step pattern of Body Recomposition and hitting the wall... so true, as a week to ten days of combining diet and workouts has lead to visible and significant shifts on every Kenzai program, a bit more intense with Chisel... definitely on board (although it looks like I just got off the boat in this pic) and it was great to jump in Lake Michigan after those 30 double hang times.. 36 (3 sets of 12) coming next week, I peaked, yikes (!) so while "Exhausted and Not Having Fun" (You Are Here) may be accurate and "the devil has (indeed!) come to get his due", I'm finding the faith and muscle to make it through. Sending you all Strength and hope to stay connected with "Wiped out but the end is in sight" coming soon.


Into It - Week 3
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Going strong and feeling the Chisel. Two things I do when the going gets tough - I check the shoes I'm skipping in and try to schedule regular body work. A massage once a week in light of the Chisel ache goes a long way. Also picking up a new pair of kicks tonight as I was due. Hope all is going well - hope to hear - and hope to connect with some new team members per the re shuffle.


CHiZZL'IN
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Abaddon - The Angel of Death, as Ἀβαδδὼν and then translated , which in Greek means The Destroyer ~ Love it. My name is Paul and I'm happy to be on board with you all, anticipating some serious Suffering. I actually enjoyed a successful Chisel run back in the Fall and it was tough from the go, very difficult and achey and by the end wanting it to stop I remember well Lol but I also achieved the fastest and best Kenzai results to date. I injured my leg and couldn't work out much through the Holidays but the results of a hot, fast and intense program were significant in 6 weeks and lasted for months. So I'm up, I'm in, on diet and thinking the workouts are really easy right now knowing how it gets! That said, hope to connect with you all, as my former Chisel team was very weak and so I hope with some team camaraderie I can recapture and even exceed those results. The picture is a Snapping Turtle about to give birth out on my front lawn - for some reason this spring I've seen half a dozen of these critters digging small dens like this and laying eggs all over the Michigan countryside, 2 hours northeast of Chicago. Thought it was worth sharing. Look forward to connecting and Chiseling with you all, and especially psyched to train with Sharmali A. the original dodgy paunch Destroyer herself. Did she say... "how Punchy it is"? Love it, as stated. A Solid Week 2 to you All.


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Beach Blasted  
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Beach Blast was... a Blast! Loved a challenging, new, intensely short Kenzai program with a creative twist that offered results. I finished up the final week at this Spot - Casco Park Beach, on the shores of Lake Michigan, the place where the final workouts went down... and up, as I used that long set of stairs along with the rope for the 20 min cardio. sessions. Loved the 1:00 blast workouts and hope to work it into the repertoire... happy to finish injury-free although my right leg is tweaking a bit from all the intensity so hope to decompress with some yoga.... eyeing Chisel or another June program from here... hope everyone finishes strong and makes it a great summer.


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