Month: March 2015

At the end of the way is freedom. Until then, patience

One of my favorite quotes attributed to Buddha is “At the end of the way is freedom. Until then, patience”. This seemingly simple quote speaks volumes in terms of guiding us in the direction of a much happier existence. Whether your preference is toward Buddhism and achieving enlightenment which in this case would equate to freedom, or if you are a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or maybe not a follower of any formal doctrine the intention of this quote should provide some guidance on how to live your life. I know this may sound a bit over the top, and you may feel advocating patience is little solace during times of duress, but  let me make a case for the value of patience in your life. Here are a few ways that patience will enrich your existence:

  • buddha patienceLong term goals require action, but they also require patience. Many of us give up on a goal or dream simply because we do not have the patience that would allow us the time to achieve them. Name a major goal that did not require a fair amount of patience, and I’ll show you a goal that was far too easy to achieve.
  • Patience is the cornerstone of practices like meditation and yoga, which will enrich your life, but without patience neither of these practices are possible.
  • You may never attain a state of complete freedom, but your ability to be patient makes it much more possible, and provides a means to cope with everyday stresses and desires.
  • In the context of this quote the word patience takes on additional meanings implying kindness, compassion, and determination. If freedom, enlightenment, or some form of happiness is your end goal, then you will need all the patience you can muster to achieve it.
  • One constant in our lives is everything changes, and sometimes we go through a cycle or event that can be measured in months or even years, but because everything changes we know that patience is an asset in coping with this cycle until it inevitably ends.
  • Let’s face it no matter what you do, both good and bad things will be part of your life, and your ability to be patient will greatly affect how you react to what happens to you. Patience is the tool that when applied has a smoothing effect on both the highs and the lows of life. Those people that survive great tragedy in their lives use patience to ride out the storm.
  • Patience and the other things it implies acts to counteract destructive thoughts like comparing yourself to others, envy, frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger.

I ran across this quote a couple weeks ago and I wrote it down on an index card, pinning it to my cork board in my office. I often look at it when I am in my office, and recite it when I meditate. My journey is probably much like yours, filled with suffering, happiness, and all the emotions in between, but this little quote has brought me great personal relief.

May you seek freedom at the end of the way, but until then use patience to guide your thoughts.





Using a Hex Bar

Using a Hex Bar

When I moved to Texas about 3 years ago I left my squat rack in Michigan, along with a lot of my weights. I spent a lot of time doing squats with no weights except for my body weight, and while this maintained my quads, hamstrings, and glutes I was looking for ways to add resistance. I tried dumbbell squats and they are at best awkward, so I abandoned that idea. I don’t have room for another squat rack in my game room upstairs so I did a little searching and found this thing called a Hex Bar. I looked into what you could do with this bar and found that it really is good for two exercises, including a squat/dead-lift and shrugs. The two pictures below give you an idea of what the bar and the squat/dead-lift look like in action.

hex bar squat starting position
hex bar squat ending position

I found that the squatting exercise is really a combination of squatting and doing a conventional dead-lift. The bar itself weighs 50 pounds so even if you only load it up with a couple 25 pound Olympic plates you have 100 pounds of resistance to work with. One of the things I like about this type of bar is that you can put a lot of weight on it and you don’t need to lift it over your head like a conventional barbell. It is also a great space saver for those of us with limited room for equipment. Does it work? In my experience it worked my quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back to some degree. I noticed that my legs and glutes were pretty sore for a couple days following a workout with the Hex Bar, so yes it really works.

To put less strain on your lower back and more focus on your quads and hamstrings don’t go all the way to the floor on when you are coming down for the next repetition. It also does a great job if you want to do shrugs. So if you have limited space and want to give your legs and traps a great workout the Hex Bar is definitely worth looking into. You can pick one up for around $100 – $150, plus you will need some Olympic weights to load on the bar. Here is a short video to give you an idea on how to perform the squat/dead-lift correctly with the Hex Bar:

Observations about Personality Types – Part 2

Observations about Personality Types – Part 2

In Part 1 of Observations about Personality Types we gave you an overview of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Each person can will be assessed to have some combination of 4 letters, for me this was INTJ. I have also taken the DISC assessment which in my view is less useful, but that is a whole other subject. What the Myers-Briggs assessment does is provide you with some in-depth information about your personality. From my perspective this meant what my natural inclination would be, my preferences if you will. I will use my own personality type INTJ to explain why this is useful to understand. What we are trying to do is get some insight into our preferences and how they affect our behavior. Armed with the information from one of these assessments and the explanation of each personality type you can begin to be more introspective about your own behavior and start playing to your preferences and strengths. Using my own Myers-Briggs Type let’s break it down:


“INTJs approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.”

I – INTJ’s are somewhat introverted and over exposure to people can cause them to withdraw. Here is the lesson; you must make sure you have some alone time as an INTJ, otherwise you may become stressed and angry. When given a choice between going to a party and reading a book the INTJ would prefer to stay home and read a book.

N – INTJ’s need to think a problem through themselves, needing to understand how something works by logically thinking it through. The INTJ wants to understand the logic or principles behind something. As someone with a “N” in the second position of the four letters you will need time to process things, and do not just blindly believe everything you see or that is said to you.

T – Decisions are made logically by the INTJ, not based on emotion. They will weigh the pros and cons of a decision, using logic and analysis to come to a conclusion. A typical INTJ then operates based on logic versus emotion. They may seem a bit distant and unsympathetic, but it is because they are always thinking. The INTJ may have issues with living in the moment, and may appear to be less empathetic than some other personality types.

J – The J in the INTJ personality type indicates that the person prefers order to chaos, organization to the disorganized. When an INTJ is forced to live in a messy home or workplace they will often become upset with the mess, and cannot understand how people can live this way. You will often hear things like “Why can’t you put these things away or if you would just put them in the same place you could find them”.

By knowing your preference you can begin to understand what might be triggering some not so flattering behavior. You should at least begin to see if you can control the stimuli, if not you might be able to offset the impact and lessen your reaction. My example is that for the past year my daughter, son in law, grandson, and their two dogs have been living with us. As you might imagine this gives me very little quiet time, and often impacts my sense of organization. Knowing that this can cause me to become frustrated because I am going against my “I” type, and being for me overexposed to people, noises, clutter, and animals I needed to find a way to get more time to myself. I started doing yoga in the morning before everyone is up, followed by 20 minutes of meditation, and this seemed to help. I would often come home and go upstairs by myself and do strength training, or retreat to my bedroom and watch something on the television. I could then interact like a normal human being during the rest of the day, while still respecting my inclination for quiet and organization. Finding ways to respect your natural personality traits is important but you must first understand what those traits are, and this is why the MBTI assessment is so valuable. This doesn’t mean that you should not challenge those tendencies from time to time, but you must understand that they exist. Once you know your personality type you can begin to make changes in your life that support your personality type. For instance there is guidance on possible careers that can support your personality type. If nothing else you will start to gain some insight into these triggers or events that may be causing you to react in a negative way.