Ballistic and grind in kettlebell workouts and in philosophy.

The concept of ballistic can be defined as powerful energy. Think about the kettlebell (KB) swing, slamming a heavy object or sprinting. The ballistic KB exercices are:

  • The swing
  • The swing clean and press
  • The snatch

The ballistic concept in fitness can be transcribed into passion in philosophy. Think about Nietzsche for example: all his writings show a lot of power and passion. It is this fiery unstoppable hyperactive mind that motivate the whole world.

The grind concept in fitness is another concept of power. It is a slow controlled movement, just like the deep thinking constructing mind. The grind movement can be low impact if done without equipment. The KB grind exercises are:

  • The KB squat
  • The Turkish get up

One can say that philosophy is more of a grind type of thinking because it is a deep thinking, therefore slow. Think about Plato whose later work was different from the early one. Think about Kant, the heavy grinder philosopher and one of the greatest. However, ballistic and grind go hand in hand because they achieve an intellectual and a conceptual equilibrium.

Life is pendulum swinging from ballisyic to grind. It isn’t odd to compare philosophy to life; nor it is odd that kettlebellers are so passionate about their workouts because KB workouts mimic physical life.

The fascination of bats

bat-albrecht-durer
painting by Albrecht Durer 

Bats are peculiar creatures, a strange hybrid between a mouse or a fox and a bird. The flying freak sleeps upside down during daytime and gets active during nighttime. There is no doubt this animal was, and stills the object of many fantasies. Therefore what are the main fantasies on bats?

In Biblical tradition, bats were believed to be messengers of Satan.  The Puritans believed that if a bat flew close to someone, somebody was trying to bewitch them. This is the reason why one might see bats sculptures on the outer walls of Gothic churches in Europe.

In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote his Gothic novel Dracula, introducing the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy. Stoker was inspired by European myths about vampires and some types of bats that solely drink blood. Dracula inspired more fiction about bat behavior like vampires. The success perpetuated the fantasy and the fascination of bats.

Then in 1939, the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created Batman, a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books. Originally named the “Bat-Man,” the character is also referred to as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Unlike Dracula and the common idea of bats, Batman is a hero fighting criminals and bringing justice to the world.

Just to name these examples among many others, bats became a narrative symbol in our subconscious mind, explaining both fear and fascination of these creatures. It pushed more and more people around the globe to approach bats, studying them, domesticating them, killing them or even eating them. To Chinese, bats are a symbol of happiness!

A bat is an infected animal but due to its immune system it can live with viruses. SARS, MERS, COVID19 are said to have been transferred to humans from bats because of human interactions with them.

A bat, like any other creature, is crucial to the environment equilibrium. We should save bats by letting them be in the wild. Don’t hug a bat, don’t kill it, don’t eat it, and don’t get close to it.

Can we leave bats alone?

 

 

Six lessons learned from the Covid-19 lockdown

empty_street_pandemic_1024
photo by sciencealert.com

As countries are preparing to go back to normal life, I can’t help looking back to the lockdown experience as a period of time where I was forced, like the rest of us, to new habits and ways to survive and live through this strange pause. I have learned important lessons for life whether there will be another wave of Covid-19 (I hope not) or not.

Here are the lessons I learned:

  • Step away from news. In stressful times like these, being constantly glued to your computer or phone and reading/watching news is not the best thing to do. In spite of being tempted to do it, and just for the record, fake news outnumbered the true ones. So, let alone being obsessive about knowing more can cause stress, but also not all is true. I limited myself to one hour per day to read or watch the news.
  • Don’t binge eating/drinking/smoking. This is the time not to mess with your body for the sake of immunity. adds stress to the body which decreases immunity.
  • Have an activity, a hobby that makes you happy doing it on your own. Whether it’s gardening or drawing or cooking etc., happiness is achieved first in solitude then shared. If you only rely on others to make you happy, then a lockdown will make you bored to say the least. Boredom is another word for anxiety.
  • Learn DIY skills to fix and repair things in times where you cannot bring in any helper to do it for you. And in general, learning new skills is good.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of a great novel to make days/nights shorter and to shift your mind to a different world.
  • Keep the contact with the loved ones. Nothing beats human warmth even if it is virtual. Physical distancing is required, not social distancing.

Again, let’s hope and pray that a second wave of the corona virus will not show up. Until then, stay safe.

Can I steal a face mask to protect my family?

surgical_mask_still_life-1296x728-header2
photo by healthline.com

 

Responsibility has never been of this amplitude.

As citizens, we were taught to be responsible towards ourselves and others. However, citizenship’s responsibility is more abiding by the law for a smoother organized life in society. A transgression of the law leads to punishment and repair.

Suddenly, in this peculiar pause, a walk outside has become an individual and a collective moral question. The dilemma is this:

Can I steal a mask to protect myself/my family? Or, in absence of a mask, can I walk outside uncovered?

Stealing is universally criminal. Foolishness, taken to a certain extend, in time of crisis is as criminal. If ethics are made of somehow universal principles (truth, respect etc.), never before, wise practical and casuistic ethics (i.e to wear a mask) has become a universal principle. Therefore, in this precise matter, stealing a mask is less harmful than to be face uncovered outside.

We might save the world by stealing a mask!

 

A lion in a cage

smoking
photo by pxhere.com

Smoking is fading away
And all i can think of is smoking
Emotions on a roller coaster
From agitation to numbness
The smell of coffee sends madness to my soul

Smoking is fading away
For the lion in a cage
Taken into captivity by the invisible
Is the devil always invisible?
Life is lighter with the devil
Suddenly time is stretching out
Energy turned to a furious ocean

Thoughts are running in my head
Into one direction
Even a poison can be sweet 

The lion in a cage is dreaming
Of colorful smokes going up my head
Innocent souls can never understand
How to be possessed by the devil




 

 

 

The power of stillness: how a mind shift can turn containment into a rich experience

containment
viewing.nyc

No one likes stillness; it is unnatural, taking into consideration that movement defines us. Stillness is socially abnormal since we are constantly asked to move, to be social, to commute, to be active. Consciously or not, stillness has not a great reputation socially speaking.

Why do we fear stillness? Does it remind us of death in a way? And what is the link with containment?

Yes it reminds us of death. Life is noise and action. Stillness is the anti-life.

However, the power of stillness occurs when there is a shift in perception. Take for an example the picture above, or any picture you have; it is an action or a moment that stood still in time. Without this stillness made possible by the camera, the moment refered to wouldn’t have been immortal. We wouldn’t have seen details, often blurred by movements. Worse, we wouldn’t have concrete memories.

Whoever tried a Yin yoga class knows what I am talking about. Yin yoga is a slow paced yoga where a pose can be held up to 3 minutes. It’s a test for the body and for the mind that can go crazy. Before almost crying, a shift in the mind can happen, a call for discipline and focus. Benefits will be felt at that moment of mind shifting.

Containment is a sort of spacial stillness, a self-imprisonment. Normally speaking, imprisonment is a punishment. Ironically, it has become the only way to save ourselves and the world! Just like in Yin yoga where the body and the mind feel in captivity, containment is quite the same painful experience. Only a mind shift can turn containment into something positive.

Then what is exactly this mind shift?

Simply put, it is focusing on ourselves, on our inner growth. On our intellectual developement by reading that book that we once bought and we never read. On our connection with the loved ones. On our inner child who wants to play and creates. On our plants. On everything that makes home the place we love to be in. But also, on our body by optimizing it and taking care of it. Last but not least, we need to focus on our mind, on our mental health. If you focus on all these daily, time will fly quickly.

Boredom is a state of mind. Anxiety is a state of mind too. Both are not needed. In time of crisis, positivity and reasonability can save us.

Useful tips to survive the corona’s lockdown

Placeholder Image

I have been on a lockdown (forced staying home) for two weeks now and no changes before the end of March. In order not to go crazy bored, here are some tips to help you stay sane and focused

Work online:

If you have this option or if you want to work on your blog, this is a time killer, hours will pass by unnoticed.

Workout:

This is a crucial for fitness in general and for immunity. Without noticing, you will see yourself sitting all day and this is bad. You can find millions of workout videos on youtube for all levels and all sessions, from 4 minutes and so on. Personally, I do my 20 minute yoga routine in the morning, on empty stomach and I workout in the afternoon for at least 30 minutes.

Intermittent fasting and proper nutrition:

It’s not the time to indulge in fast food and processed food and sugar crap, this is bad for immunity. In these days, we must give a break to the body to work, to regenerate itself and to fight anything it must fight. Personally I fast for 16 hours and my eating window is 8 hours.

Decluttering:

And rearranging. Take the time to do it, it will help you know what you should keep and what you should give away. Another time killer activity. Everyday do a part of a room, so some is left for other days.

Art/artcraft:

That’s a therapy, and a great way to keep you and your hands busy. You will be surprised how creative you are.

Reading:

A good novel is always the best companion.

I hope my post will help you. Remember, don’t go out unless you must to. Take all the necessary precautions when going out and coming back. Much love and care are needed in this time.  Corona united us all!

 

My life this week in 2020 the year of change

photo-1536743939714-23ec5ac2dbae
photo by unsplash.com

The country is shut down due to the corona tsunami and people remain home. For me, it was a new experience as i am teaching online. I hate corona but i am loving this online job experience. However, being locked down, I couldn’t help but wonder about the year 2020.

For those who follow my blog, they know that starting october 2019, we have been on a long revolution against corruption and injustice. So on a shaky land we entered 2020 that hit us with more turmoils and with corona. Horrible as it is, we must look at the bigger picture. 2020 is the year of battles and change; which logically leads to the desire of change or to resistance because of fear. I feel it is a turning point: there is before and after 2020. The decade sounds revolutionary on all levels.

Corona, floods, earthquakes, protests, climate change and more demand responsibility and collective consciousness. It demands awareness and redifinition of oneself, of social structures, of relationships, of politics, of economics. Basically it demands form each one of us a choice and a role. Speaking of Corona: movies, tedtalks, conferences predicted the outbreak of a similar virus. We listened but we didn’t get ready for it. Now that the outbreak is here, what am I going to do? How to deal with others? Who am I and what are my deepest desires? The natural incidents I mentioned indicate the redifinition of the earth itself.

2020 is the year of big lessons in life. Incidents will force us to retrieve into ourselves and connect on a deeper level with our fears and desires. It is the year that must teach us to let go of the past and start fresh new, both on individual and collective levels.

So yes there is fear and loneliness. There is a resistance to change. But do we have a choice other than love and flexibility? I don’t think we do.

 

The correlation between epidemics and turmoils. A brief history review

BlackDeathEngraving

Manmade or nature made, viruses and epidemics have always existed in times of political turmoils. Is it a pure coincidence or is it planned by nature/God/universal forces? Here are some of the deadliest epidemics that shaped human history.

The Plague of Athens devastated Athens during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC), killing an estimated 75000 to 100000 people. Another plague was the Roman Plague or the Antonine plague (165-180 AD) which had severely affected Indo-Roman trade relations in the Indian Ocean and devestated the Roman Empire. The total deaths have been estimated at five million.

The Black Plague hit Europe and a part of Asia in the mid-14th century and was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, killing seventy five to two hundred million people. the plague created a number of religious, social and economic upheavals, with profound effects on the course of European history.

Fast forward many centuries later, the 20th century had its unfortunate epidemics such as the Spanish Flu (1918-1920). The death toll is estimated at around 100 million. The WWI played a big role in maintaining the disease for that long.

Then came Bird Flu, Sars, Mers, Ebola …. and now Corona.

Aren’t we responsible somehow for all this? If not created by men, isn’t it nature trying to get rid of us due to what we have been doing? This picture below taken by the NASA speaks better than I do:

wp-1583401756385.jpg

 

The concept of free

sugar-free-icon-vector vecteezy.com
image by vecteezy.com

It is not about the concept of freedom but the concept of free. A capitalistic world is a capitalistic collective and individual consciousness. Where all is about financial profit, then the concepts of saving and getting free products are related. It goes from free trials, free e-books, free giveaway etc… to ingredients free types of food.

While all this seems to be profitable and legitimate, where the awareness stands?

The idea of free is not bad in itself. People have the right to try a free sample before deciding on buying it or not. Same goes for a free trial, a free class, a free article etc., or even a “buy 1 get 1 for free”. The issue lies in the frantic thinking of getting the maximum of free stuff possible for two main reasons:

  • Trying something for free before choosing to pay can lead in some cases to be enticed. Not all businesses are made the same way. Sometimes the free stuff is way better than the bought ones.
  • Choosing quantity over quality. This is the bigger issue where people think the more the better, ending with unneeded many free stuff. Again, blame it on the consumerist attitude and behavior.

It is trickier when it comes to food. Sugarfree is the taste of sugar without having sugar. Fat free, is also the same taste minus the fat. Gluten free: does anyone understand the gluten issue? Put aside allergies and food intolerances, why would anyone want to eat sugar without sugar if it is widely known that is bad? It is lying to ourselves without taking any responsibility for this matter. It is accepting to eat crap and fooling ourselves that it is a healthier option while deeply being convinced that it is poisonous. Mythomania!

It is revolting because paying for something is paying for quality and it is an exchange. Perhaps some things shouldn’t be free and some others shouldn’t be paid for. You choose which is which. Should a party be free? I don’t think so, again for the idea of exchanging intentions and experiences. Art was never free, although it shouldn’t cost a fortune. Creativity must be paid for.

So, where the awareness stands?

It is low, stepping behind a compulsive behavior and a self-cheating mentality. Instead of looking for quality, some people (if not most of them) rely on bingeing bad food, bad quality and bad music. All this is followed by medication afterward. Then we ask ourselves: why are we so unhappy and stressed? How did rational and critical thinking disappear?