Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fill Your Cup

A MadCap Coffee & my favorite hat given to me by an IDF soldier 
during one of my travels to Israel

In my last post First You Must Be Able to Swim I talked about having something to give. Meaning that if you have abundance you have the ability to give more. Today I wanted to talk about that idea.

Filling your cup is an analogy for having abundance in your life. Not running on empty so to speak. I am not so much talking about financial abundance (not that it can't be that too). It's more about feeling centered, grounded and connected. Each of us have different ways of filling our cup so to speak.

Here are some of the ways that I fill my cup:

  • Alone time
  • Travel
  • Helping others
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Training
  • Connecting with friends
  • A train track walk
  • Journaling
  • Taking care of my finances
  • Spending time with my mom & dad
  • Camping
  • Working out
  • Raking leaves
  • Hearing a thought provoking speaker
  • Meditating
  • Schuler's, a good book, comfy chair & a chai
  • A good nights sleep
  • A good meal
  • Yoga
  • Swimming in open water
  • Visit to Argos, Vault of Midnight or Spirit Dreams
  • Simplifying my life
  • Taking an afternoon to cleaning my apartment 
  • "Pilgrimage" to Jersey to train & hang w/my Buyu friend
  • A small pub, jukebox, good conversation & a drink
  • Hiking in nature
  • Playing some crazy Cthulhu games (w/friends)  
  • Kayaking 
  • A road trip
  • Listening to a favorite song w/my radio turned up to "11!"
  • A primal scream at the top of my lungs
  • Learning something new
  • A walk in a cemetery
  • Breathing and looking inward
  • Looking up at the stars on a clear night
  • A free afternoon to do whatever the f@*# I want
  • Sitting around the campfire
  • Playing music w/friends
  • Getting a massage
  • Laughing
  • An afternoon nap
  • Wandering
  • Sitting on the beach listening to the waves
  • Walking around the Museum or  Fredrick Meijer Gardens
  • Flying a kite in the park

Yeah, I could go on, but you get the idea.

Give yourself permission to make sure your not running on fumes. Too often we don't take the time to fill our own cups. This leaves us depleted and hollow and makes it difficult to give to others in a healthy way.

What do you do to "Fill Your Cup?"

Keep going,


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

First You Must Be Able to Swim

You may have heard me talk about the analogy between the lifeguard and being able to swim. Meaning that you first have to be able to swim before you can jump out into the water to help someone else. Good intentions without the skill of knowing how to swim results in both people drowning.

*You can read that post here:

Well, you can expand that idea into many areas of your life. Just today I was reminded of this concept while I was practicing yoga Behnje Masson (my yoga teacher) was talking about this approach from different angles, ranging from your emotional state to finances. Basically the idea that you have to have before you can truly give. The discussion really rang true with me.

We talk a lot about  this when I teach Krav Maga as well. This idea that if you are confident and feel as if you can defend yourself, than you can be a better protector for everyone. But be forewarned, this approach takes clarity! As Jack Hoban expresses the idea: Our Ethic should drive our Tactic, which then forms our technique.

What is the ethic? Kick ass and don't take anyone's shit?! Nope. ...How about, protect "your own" and screw everyone else? That sounds a little better, but it's not quite right either, unless you consider everyone as part of your "Tribe," meaning that we respect All Life.

In his book Values for a New Millennium  Iwo Jima Marine and U.S. State Dept. conflict resolutionist Dr. Robert Humphrey calls this ethic the "Dual Life Value." Humphrey explains that the Life Value is a universal value that all other values are filtered through. Grab his or Jack Hoban's Ethical Warrior book to read more about this simple, yet profound concept.

This ethic has to be clear regarding exactly what we are protecting before we start unleashing our inner Jason Bourne on everyone. If we don't do it this way, then we just might turn into another thug out there creating more violence in the world.

So, in this Spirit, we need to see the value in ourselves first. We have to give to ourselves first. Then with that over abundance we can then give to others. This cannot be done in a selfish, egotistical way. In order for it to be a positive thing, it has to be done in a balanced, healthy way. A way that is able to separate the Value for Life from relative values, beliefs and behaviors.

Think of it like this:

How can you loan someone money if your bank account is empty?

How can you truly protect someone else if you don't have an idea how to protect yourself? 

How can you teach if you haven't first learned?

How can you receive respect if you haven't given it first?

Do you truly respect others if you don't first respect yourself?

In my PeaceWalker Program I say: To help others through inspiration rather than intimidation. The Tactical Leadership model is: Respect, Protect, Empower. First you must know what to respect (Life), before you begin Protecting. Once you align with respect and continually develop the skills to be a better protector, you will find that you have more choices to create less violence. You will also begin to Empower others indirectly, directly, or both. To do it well you will need have to clarity and skill, which requires good teachers and continual training.


"We train so that one may walk in peace.”

~Imi Litchenfeld


This process never ends, so Keep Going!

All the best,

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

One Person


Her name was Mrs. Allen, I had her as a teacher in both the 3rd & 5th grade. She was one woman who changed my life. When she walked in the room you felt safe. She made you believe that you had value and that you could do anything you set your mind to. You wanted to be a better person around her, it wasn't something she demanded of you, she INSPIRED it from within you.

I can still remember how I felt, I was falling behind in both math and reading. No one really knew why I was struggling so much. I was becoming more depressed and anxious about school and myself. I was afraid that the other kids would tease me, calling me stupid, that I wouldn't be able to keep up. Not only did I not want to look bad in front of my classmates, I was worried that I was stupid. Why when I sat down to read would be so difficult figuring out what was in front of my eyes? The page often looked like a jumbled mess. It gave me a headache trying to decipher even simple words. I couldn't figure out why when I would do my math assignment the numbers would often not come out the same from time to time. 

Most teachers thought that the inconsistency was because that I wasn't doing my homework, couldn't pay attention or that I just wasn't that bright. But not Mrs. Allen, she believed in me and wasn't afraid of telling me so.

I still remember one fateful day when she saw me in tears. Me, a 7 year old boy crying in frustration as I looked at my math assignment that I had been working on for the entire period. Even when everyone else had long since finished their assignment and moved on I hadn't gotten past the second problem.

"What's wrong Craig?" She said with a caring voice.

I tried to respond, but nothing came out except tears. I was so frustrated and embarrassed that I couldn't figure out the problems. Everyone else in class was done and working on other things, not me, I was at my wits end again, trying to make sense of it all. 

I remember her calming me down and whispering in my ear that it was alright and I wasn't stupid. She helped me save face in front of my classmates. She also said that she thought she knew what was going on. She ended up sending me home that day and scheduled an appointment to talk with my parents.


Because of Mrs. Allen's caring persistence as a teacher and protector, she believed that there was something wrong with what was going on with me. So, rather than just figuring that I wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, or believing that I was lying about doing my homework, she did some research and pushed through a lot of red tape to look at the issue differently. After talking to my folks, she arranged for a specialist come in and run me through some tests. Later that week I was diagnosed with dyslexia and was part of a test group for a new type of program that would hopefully treat the disability without the use of medication (which at the time had a lot of side effects and was limited in its effectiveness). The program worked incredibly well and put me back on track with school and life. I am eternally grateful for her belief in me, her ethic as a protector and teacher and her unwillingness to give up and take the easy way out.

We often under estimate the little things that can change many things. You see it only takes ONE PERSON to make a huge difference. Sometimes it's just one smile, one act of kindness, one person stepping up, to change the world, one person, one relationship at a time. It doesn't have to be someone famous, as a matter of fact each of us has our own story of someone who was kind to us, who gave us a chance, who believed in us, who stood by us, helped us, taught us, helped us to see ourselves and our world differently. 

What will your contribution be? How will you pay it forward?

 Keep going,