Star Wars Life Lessons

While Star Wars A New Hope, which was released when I was five years old has been my favorite movie of all time, it is only recently that I discovered many of the truly important lessons in life can be drawn directly from the films over the last 40 years.  And while I am sure there are many more lessons you can draw from these wonderful films, here are some of my favorite…

do-or-do-not-there-is-no-try-25929616“Do or do not… there is no try.” ~ Master Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Perhaps my favorite life lesson, and a long time source of inspiration for me as there is a framed plaque of this quote right on my recreation room wall.  In life you can either do something or not doing, there is no middle ground.  It is a mentality I try to take into everything that I do, I am not going half ass anything.  I am going to run 100 days in a row, I am certainly not going to just try to do…

 

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” ~ Darth Vader, A New Hope

You need to surround yourself with people that believe in you, and will blow wind into your sails.  Life is far too short to listen to the haters, the doubters, the people that just want to drag you down to their level.  Surround yourself with amazing people that inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

 

C-3PO “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is 3,720 to 1.”

“Never tell me the odds.” ~ Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back

If you had told me ten years ago that I would have completed an Ironman triathlon, I would never have believed you.  At the time I was 234 pounds and completely out of shape, but with the proper training plan, and the motivation from deep within myself I crossed the finish line on Aug. 29th, 2009 and will forever be an Ironman finisher.  I have the medal to prove it!!  From this experience I learned that there is nothing that you cannot do in life when you put our mind to it.  It’s a belief in yourself, a belief that you can accomplish anything.  Believe and your will find a way.

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“Strike me down and I will be become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” ~ Obi Wan Kenobi, A New Hope

Success in life can often be attributed to failure, or several failures in life.  It’s about getting back up after you have been knocked down, it’s about getting back on that horse after you’ve been bucked off.  Life is hard and at times cruel, it will test you, it will push you to your limits, it will knock you down.  From each failure you can learn from you will evolve into a much more powerful version of yourself.

 

“Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda, The Phantom Menace

Even the worst movie of the Star Wars franchise can teach us something, Don’t let fear guide your life,  don’t let fear control your decisions.  Fear of the unknown, fear of the future can cripply you into inaction and nothing.  You know what happens when your afraid and do nothing?  Nothing happens.  I sometimes call this the Negative cycle and it has had it’s powerful grip on me for too long at some points in my life.  I now longer fear the unknown, I embrace it.  I wake up and look forward to each and everyday and what it may bring.  With this changed mindset, I’ve seen my own anger slowly fade away…

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“One thing for sure, we’re all going to be a lot thinner!” ~ Han Solo, A New Hope

Humor in life can go a long way, and can make a stressful situation for tolerable.  This would be one lesson that I would want to incorporate more of into my own life, and not get stressed out at things beyond my control.  Laugh about, make jokes and make the best of whatever situation you may find yourself in.

 

“All his life he looked away.  To the future.  To the horizon.  Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing.” ~ Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Being mindful, being present in the moment can go such a long way.  Imagine you are spending quality time with that special person and you continually picked up your phone to check your social media feed, only giving that other person some of your attention.  Now imagine that same interaction with your phone turned off, and the other getting 100% of your attention, your body language, and where your mind is at.  Being mindful, being present can go such a long way in a relationship and can make that special person truly feel special.

 

“Let go of your hate.” ~ Luke Skywalker, Return of the Jedi

There is a time and place to put the past in the past and let go of ill feelings that you may have been holding onto and taking away from other areas of your life.  By embracing the hate, it prevents you from growing in the other direction.  It forces you to focus on the negative as opposed to embracing the positive aspects of life.  Letting go of the hate and anger doesn’t mean forgetting, it means focusing on the bright future ahead that (if you let it) can be filled with love and happiness.

 

20160921_112451-ANIMATIONI personally believe in the power of the force, and while I may not be able to levitate boulders with my mind, despite how hard I tried when I was a child I certainly believe that there is an energy that as described by Obi Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, “…an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”  This energy you can tap into, you can use to power yourself to great and amazing things, there is also a dark side energy that can, when you start down it’s path will forever dominate your destiny.

The light side, the positive energy in life is such a powerful thing.  It is powering me to run 100 days in a row, it is powering me to change my life in such a positive way.  I have such a strong personal connection to Darth Vader, as my life was filled with anger and hate until one day I was able to come back to the light side of the force and embrace all that is good in life.

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

The Incurable Left Hamstring…

At some point last November I woke up with a sore left hamstring, and to be truthful it still hasn’t healed fully.  It is not what I will call painful but I am always aware that it is sore, somedays much more than others.  Today being one of those days…

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Hilton Falls

Yesterday was day 51 of the 100 day running challenge, and well because I am slightly stupid I decided to go all out on my run around the block instead of the nice and easy 4km that I had planned for the start of recovery week.  I had a done a nice 12km run the day before for run 50 but it was on ice covered trails and I could only manage half stride as I was worried about the icy trails, slipping, falling, rolling an ankle, injury!  So the run itself was not very taxing on my legs, it was a great ankle and support muscle run however.

So yesterday I guess I wanted to spread my wings and fly, or in runners speak expand my stride length and see what I was capable of.  For run 49 a few days before, I went as fast as I could over a 5km run setting some personal best times along the way.  Yesterday, I just destroyed those times by 22 per kilometer over my best km, the difference between the two runs would have been the temperature outside (it was much warmer yesterday), and the run itself just felt more natural.  For run 49 I was fighting myself the whole time, and it was a struggle, for run 51 I was fighting my breathing and trying not to have my heart explode in my chest (figure of speech) as it was a maximum effort.

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Average page 4:29s

What I didn’t do and certainly should have was warm up properly, as I have a tendency to step out the front door and RUN!   I also now have the ability to have a close understanding of my pace when I run, I don’t need my audio cues in my ear to tell me how fast I am going.  I pass the same mailbox each run at exactly the 1 km mark, and I can usually predict my time to within 5 seconds…  Yesterday I didn’t look at my watch or the pace until I was finished the 3 km sprint, and was truly marvelled at how fast I had gone.  I had mentioned to Megan that 14 and half minutes would be an excellent time, but 13:41s was just outstanding!  With km’s of 4:32, 4:24, and 4:28 and the real awesome thing is that I can even go faster still.

I started with a pace average of around 5:45 per km when I started and I’ve seen that drop over the last 50 days, and am very excited where it will be in 50 days from now… for the rest of this week it is very small, easy pace recovery runs as I attempt to rest up the forever sore left hamstring.  Nothing longer than 5km, nothing faster than 6 minutes per km with some stretching, massage rollers and easy bike rides thrown into the mix.  This coming Sunday I will attempt another maximum effort 4km run this time with a proper warmup and we shall compare the results.

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

100 Days of Running – DAY 50

Many people have expressed to me, including the Nike coach that sometimes whispers in my ear as I run to start off easy and build into the run.  It was a hard lesson for me to learn, and even after all these years I am not sure that I still even get it.  Let me explain, back in 2007 when I was a 234 pound coach potato and had yet to do my first triathlon I started to run.  I can visualize the run corse still in my head, I would start on my driveway head about 150m down the street with a left turn and a kilometer down the street to an Esso gas station, turn around and return home.  Two kilometers in total.

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My run accountability tracker.  It’s half full!

When I started I could not get to the end of my street without my heart pounding, a stitch developing in my side, and me being completely gassed.  What I was doing was leaving my driveway and not running, sprinting at full speed!  My inexperience with anything athletic at that point in my life, had me dazed and confused.  I didn’t know how to run, my goal was to run as fast as I could, I still shake my head sitting here over 10 years later that I couldn’t understand the concept of how to run…

So here we are 11 years later, and I am smack dab in the middle of a personal 100 day run challenge.  I had heard of this challenge a few years ago, and have tried it in the past.  My mindset was that if you could run 100 days in a row, it would put you into fantastic physical condition for the upcoming triathlon season. I believe I tried this challenge two or three years already and never ever made it into double digits.  I gave up, I quit, I missed a day, I left life get in the way…

So what is different this year?  How have I made it all the way to day 50?

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The man in the glass.

That is a very good question, something I will reflect upon today during run 50. What immediately comes to mind is the support circle and system of accountability that I have surrounded myself with.  The changes that I have made in my life both on a personal and professional level.  The fact that I know own my shit, not all the time but it is definitely a work in progress.  The MasterMind group I have joined, is an amazing place for support and accountability led by Jeff and Jason have encouraged me along the way.  New friends like John Bauer inspire me to keep going on this crazy adventure feeding off each others positive energy and good vibes.

Most importantly is the man I see staring at me in the glass each morning.  He inspires me to be better, he inspires me to try harder, he inspires me to run further, he inspires me to grab my shoes and go for a run each and every day for the last 50 days.  He will continue to inspire me to run for 50 more!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

The Timing of Life

The hands on the clock are always in motion, even sitting here today totally unmotivated to do much of anything I still am very aware of the passage of time.  You see there is still time to salvage this day and get a few things done as opposed to laying on the couch and watching yet another episode of Mantracker.  It’s been an emotionally tough week on several fronts…

I was future endeavoured on Feb. 15th, the day after Valentine’s Day and I couldn’t help but think about the timing of life rearing its ugly head which has been a constant theme throughout my entire life.  For example you meet a fabulous person, and they are happily married kind of idea…  On the flip side I have seen this principle actually save my life, one example in particular comes to mind when my boss a few years ago gave me the day off work due to the crazy weather we were having.  If I had gone in that day I would have been right in the middle of a 100 car pileup that happened later that day on the exact route and time I normally would have driven to work…

Definitely gives you a moment of pause and reflection…

While I had an amazingly productive day yesterday, I just don’t feel the love from my body today.  When the spirit is low, the energy level is also low as well.  I lack motivation, I lack inspiration and it is going to be a tough weekend for me.  A couple of kid free days, a couple of days of work, and then Family Day with for the first time since its inception as a Statutory Holiday I will not be working, and I will be home kid free.

I just may have to pile my hiking shoes, mountain bike into the back of my Jeep and make an adventure of the day.

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Post Valentine’s Day Blues

So as a single guy a day like yesterday kind of sucks.  Everywhere you turn love and happiness is being thrown in your face, to make matters worse I was also trying to capitalize on this day by pimping my sugar cookie business to anyone that was interested.  To spend the day before (all day) baking, icing and decorating, then packaging up all these tasty treats was a lot of fun but just drove the point home even more.

It was a perfect storm of life events as well, both little kids went back to their mom’s house as it was Wednesday.  The eldest two wanted to spend time with their friend and boyfriend so I had an empty house.

Honestly sitting home alone was not so much fun, and it allowed my mind to wander into some rather dark places.  I didn’t like where it was going, and I was questioning a lot of the decisions that I have made over the last few months.  I immediately recognized this as the beginning a what could have been a very nasty negative cycle.  These patterns of thinking have been very self destructive for me in the past, and it is so easy to fall back into them and let the nothing just carry you away.

Good thing for me I have learned a few things these last few months about myself and how to handle this negative energy.  As it was February 14th most of my support circle was busy last night having the most wonderful time (I hope), so I had to look at the man in the mirror for some guidance and help.  I fired up Titanic on the big screen, grabbed my trusty journal and wrote a bunch of pages to purge my mind of the evil thoughts stirring around in there.

Those thoughts are now out of my head and will be translated directly into actions today which is a great thing.  These intermittent thoughts that I would argue we all have from time to time  can be self destructive when allowed to take hold, its comforting knowing that I can now recognize the onset and not allow myself to get trapped, but even more so be a source of energy and inspiration to drive me forward.

Today we have 80 sugar cookies to bake this morning for a client tomorrow afternoon, and some for my daughter and her class tomorrow as she is star of the day, then it will be some quality kid time tonight with swim lessons and some family fun at the YMCA followed my Marvel movie night!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

The Last Cherry Pepsi

I don’t know about you, but when I know I am drinking the last of something I will savour it just a little bit more.  My brain makes me appreciate it just a little bit more than say can 3 through 11 of a small case of pop.  Wild Cherry Pepsi being a long time favorite, especially after a long run but hey it is one of my few indulgences.

So I came down to the kitchen, to tidy up and turn everything off and I reached into my case, and viola no cans of pop left.

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 Also baked chocolate chip cookies tonight.  They were delicious! 

My mouth had been watering the whole walk down the stairs to grab it, I could visualize and it was a huge let down to reach into the empty case.  I had jugged “the last can” earlier that night after a 5km run outside in the snow covered streets of Barrie which was really quite awesome.  Running along the empty streets making  afresh trail in the snow.  Not running with headphones and just listening to the sound of winter and feeling the snow fall on my face was really quite spectacular.

I’m enjoying a Moosehead instead, on my kid free Saturday night… it’s okay, but I really wish I had that Pepsi!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Valentine’s Day Cookie Rush…

It was a baking kind of morning, as the bananas from Sunday’s grocery shop were finally ready to be turned into some delicious loaves of banana bread, my children like to gobble down.  They were bright green when I bought them and have patiently  waited for them to turn…

And while those bad boys were baking away in the oven it was time to decorate some cookies for the Valentine’s Day cookie rush of early next week…

I have learned that decorating a sugar cookie is definitely a learnt skill, and one that can be greatly improved upon with a whole lot of practice.  And that is what this morning was dedicated to with a fresh batch of icing, learning the correct consistency for both flooding and writing, drying times, etc…

I will also say that also with the strength training that I have been doing recently, it has increased my upper body strength and allowed me to hold that icing bag with a steady head.  Results posted below, my only issues is that I like to sample a lot and eating sugar cookies is not a great part of the triathlete’s diet!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!