Liberation of the mind and spirit can bring one untold peace and harmony, both within and with the Universe and all its inhabitants. However, no one ever said it would be quick, easy or even the least bit fun. Letting go of old ways of doing things and established patterns of belief often exceed common discomfort and at times may seem impossible.

Willingness to persist. Willingness to be openminded. Willingness to be honest. These are the keys to the gateways of the mind.

Endless Journey…

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Yugen and my morning commute.

Of late, as I drive into work in the mornings I have been greeted by some spectacular sunrises.  I have tried to capture these sunrises and the quiet little moments of self reflection that they inspire with camera and words, neither seem to ever quite work.

There is a Japanese word ‘Yugen’ which seems to apply here.  Yugen has multiple meanings, depending on its context.   In this context I am using it to describe the ineffable, to describe the emotions and the aesthetic that goes beyond explanation.

My AM commute often takes a little longer, simply because I slow down and stare, I gaze in wide wonder at this beautiful display.  It amazes (but does not surprise me) that more folks don’t seem to notice this natural wonder.

Here is a little poem I cobbled together.  I hope you enjoy.

I call it ‘The Morning Show.’

An awakened dream, for all to see.

Few will notice, even fewer seem to care.

I hypnotically stare into the eye of the universe, to the giver of all life.

Bright! Fluorescent, like a gaudy flash from an eternal source.

Red! Orange! Yellow! Blue!

Gossamer tendrils spreading forth to welcome a new day. 

Tawdry, yet ancient and silent.  Profound yet mundane as the breath beneath one’s nose.

How I long for your rhythm, the eternal hum of the universe.

All the Best,


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Flu Vaccine is Worse than Smoking???

In the midst of another epic flu season I am provided with opportunities to have some interesting conversations with the patients who present to our clinic.   One of the most prevalent conversations that I have is regarding Flu Vaccines.   Let me clarify, I did not get a Flu Vaccine this year, admittedly by accident as I simply forgot.  However, I am not a pusher of the vaccine, I figure if you don’t want one, fine, don’t get one.  With all the exposure to the flu that I get in a year it is only a matter of time until I contract the flu and spend 2-3 days in fevered agony.  The upshot for me is that I don’t have diabetes, asthma or an otherwise impaired immune system.

When I am seeing a patient, who I suspect has the Flu, one of my first screening questions is ‘did you have a flu shot.’   This is where things can get interesting.  The variety of answers I get from this simple yes/no question are astounding.

Recently, I have had several patients who are current smoker respond thusly ‘ I don’t/won’t get a flu vaccine, because I don’t want to put something in my body that may hurt me or do something negative to my health.’  My only thought is ‘Wow, really?’ This thought is silent and to myself.

Now, I am not gonna get into the health or hazards of either smoking or getting a flu vaccine and further I am not going to claim that I am without the occasional lapse in good judgement.

So, perhaps this post is just a pointless rant from a pointless guy in a pointless profession.  It just never ceases to amaze me how silly we can be as a species and how sure we can be that our beliefs are true.

All the Best,


PS:  My approach to these patients is gentle.  I don’t ever berate or take a condescending tone.  After all, its our lives to live.  I can only try to live mine well and hopefully be an example to others.  That, for me, is one of the greatest gifts.





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Filthy Fifty II (The Aftermath)

So I am writing this ‘post event.’  The WOD started about 930 AM EST and was every bit the brute I had remembered.  I trained with my girlfriend, who was doing Filthy for the first time.  She posted 34 min and some change with scale.

I posted 36min 40sec, which may not be ‘Games’ worthy, but its 10 minutes faster than my previous attempt!!!   My form was so much better this time, the pace was smoother and he transitions between elements was far more efficient.  Truly amazing how much an athlete can improve in a short period of time.

Post workout I spent a little time getting my wits back and I did have some dry heaves, but alas it is to be expected with the Filthy Fifty.  Truly a worthy opponent!

Now, it is time for a nap.




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Filthy Fifty

So, the game plan for one of this week’s WODs (Workout of the Day) is to do Filthy Fifty. I haven’t touched this beast for 4-5 months and frankly I am a little nervous. The last time I did Filthy Fifty I was physically and emotionally spent about 75% of the way through the WOD. The last 25% of the WOD is a bit of a blur to me. I was seriously considering quitting Crossfit for good at one point. I completed Filthy in around 46 minutes.

What have your experiences been like with Filthy Fifty? Have you ever done it more than once?

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To Train or not to Train…

As a long time weightlifting enthusiast (20+ years)  I truly though I had seen and done it all.  My love affair and obsession with iron came to a fevered pitch in 1997 while studying Anthropology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  I had a roommate who was a huge Arnold fanatic and who could squat a small bus if provoked.  In classic form, my pass-time quickly became the focus of my being and I subsequently dropped out of college, returned home and within a year was a part owner of a Gold’s Gym in Carlisle PA.

The Gym (Fitness) industry proved to be a cruel mistress and I didn’t last 2 years in my management/ownership role.  My dreams of re-creating the golden era of bodybuilding were dashed and I return to school to pursue a medical degree.  For about 7 years my love affair with weightlifting (getting huge/big) was an on and off fling.

Fast forward to early 2012.

Then Crossfit happened.  I was enduring the personal trial of a separation and ultimate divorce of my wife or 7 years.  Aside from emotional exhaustion and frank frustration over life events, I was feeling fat, lethargic and very dissatisfied with my fitness level.  I weighed 265lb and struggled to do a single pullup.  In late March 2012 I finally decided that despite what I thought was an expert grasp on the fundamentals of fitness, healthy weight loss and strength training, I was going to hire a personal trainer.


To say that hiring a trainer who was  a Crossfit level 1 cert holder, was life changing would be an understatement.  I quickly realized that, for me, Crossfit was something entirely different.  Every workout felt like the first day of 3 a day football camp, every workout ( affectionately called a WOD [workout of the day] a true test of emotional, physical and psychological stamina.

I was hooked.

As most Crossfit junkies that I know do, I quickly adapted my lifestyle to the training style, not the reverse.  I immediately started eating better; borrowing principles from Paleo, Zone, South Beach, etc…I shed 40 pounds, my cardiovascular endurance sky rocketed, my clothes suddenly were too large, my joints felt better, my head felt better.   I ended up taking the Level 1 Cert in early Oct 2012, just for fun.

More on Crossfit later.  It’s hard for me not to ramble incessantly about Crossfit, so I will stop…For now!

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How to begin…

A Journey of a Thousand Miles…

Well, that would get me about half way to my destination. In March 2015 I will be turning 40 years old, have 5 years of recovery under my belt and several professional obligations completed. As such, I am endeavoring to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. This is a realization of a dream that started back in the late 1970’s when I would take weekend hiking and camping trips with my Father. Like many dreams, I conveniently placed this one on the shelf labelled ‘maybe later’ only to watch it collect dust as I pursued academic, financial and family goals.


Part of the drive behind this hike is that I am done. I am done with a lot of the things in my life that have become habitual, conventional and at times pathologic. My hope is that by losing myself in the journey that I will be able to more deeply experience who I truly am. There is a romantic allure that surrounds the idea of having all my necessities strapped on my back, an open trail ahead of me and no hard timeline or deadline in mind.

As I continue to plan and prepare for the trip, I hope that you all can in a sense join me. I want to share my excitement. I want to share my enthusiasm for what I believe is a life worth living.

All the best.


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