Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 405: Meditation

     I know, I know. I can tell what you're going to say (just kidding, nobody reads this). You're gonna say "But Kyle, haven't you already tried meditation before?" Well first off, good job, you're very attentive. I did in fact try meditation way back on day 105. I probably looked up a YouTube video or something and closed my eyes and pretended to follow along. This, is not that.
     As part of this year's resolution, I have taken time out of each day to practice meditating. Some days for 10 minutes, while others for up to an hour. Sometimes guided (usually guided) and sometimes not. I've picked up some books on the subject and have reached past the yogi threshold, past the point of no return.
     By far, the hardest part of beginning this practice, has been getting over my own perceptions and assumptions. Sitting quietly, looking inward, these are not easy habits to instill, but they're even harder habits to explain to others. Or at least I feared they might be. In all honesty, whenever the subject of mindfulness came up I was met with nothing but curiosity and remarks like "I've always wanted to try". So once I got out of my own way, the actual act of meditating was surprisingly easy. I sat, and watched my breath. And each time my thoughts pulled me away from my focus of my breath, I'd gently (not always gently in the beginning) return back to the breath. That's it.
     The process is simple, but that's not to say it is easy. For the first month, I couldn't go more than two breaths without getting caught up in some sort of train of thought. I'd spend the entire time returning to my breath and leave feeling like I had wasted my morning. But with some more practice, and a lot of really solid advice from some books, I've (very slowly) started to make some progress.
     I'm still nowhere near mastering my inner mind (and from what I can tell, that's not going to happen), but I do have to admit that there is a noticeable difference I can feel since starting 93 days ago. Not to say I'm cured of anxiety, or self-doubt, or any of the other human emotions we're all plagued to feel, just that now, I have and awareness of them. They're nothing more than thoughts and feelings.
     Even the difference I notice after taking time to focus on the breath is worth the time. I feel calm and grounded, and I find myself looking forward to the next time I can slow down.

If you would like to learn more, here are some great places to start:

Monday, October 3, 2016

Day 404: Stick And Poke Tattoo (a rebuttle)

I'm not kidding, we went to Panda Express and everything.

     I was offered the chance to revisit a challenge that I felt was in need of a rebuttal. If you remember, I was eager to prove how serious my intentions were early on. In fact, just seven days into the resolution, I decided it was time to test my commitment in a very permanent way; perform a Stick and Poke Tattoo on myself.
"The work station"

     Stick and Poke Tattoo- A form of body modification that answers the question "how can I further compromise the gamble of my tattoo?"  By trading the sterile environment and the trustworthy experience of a professional tattoo shop for a sewing needle duct taped to a spare chopstick of course!
     The tattoo was supposed to serve as a self inflicted "re-birthmark" of my new philosophy towards life. Trying new things and such. But unfortunately, virtually no ink stayed in my skin. After an hour of repeatedly stabbing my thigh, I had nothing to show for it. Blame it on my timidness to puncture myself I suppose.
     Ever since that attempt, I never felt comfortable calling it a success. I mean sure I bled a bit, and some ink stayed in. But was it really a tattoo? It certainly was not a proper symbol of my new outlook. Kevin and myself didn't think so. So we gathered all the materials and beer and started stabbing away. This time, it was personal. 
Kevin going ham on his leg

     Just like the time before, my tattoo wasn't shapping up like I had imagined. Kevin had bold, dark lines that seemed to pop from his leg, while mine only looked red and irritated. It was discouraging, so I did what I needed to; I drank more beer, and pushed the needle further.
     I soon found that ink was finally starting to set in my skin. Success! I was well on my way to completing the long standing challenge. Unfortunately, my goal was to get ink in the skin, not to end up with anything good. By the end of my session, my tattoo was bold, and dark. But it was also the kind of image that required you to squint and cock your head slightly to fully process what you're looking at.

I think this speaks for itself...
     So I did another one just to be sure. This time I was going for bold lines and a recognizable picture. I still cant say that I have a good stick and poke, but you're damn sure that now I can say I have one.
All in moderation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Day 403: Solo Hiking

     It had been a while since I had deliberately tried something new. Like, over an entire year. So today I decided to give it a go. To dig myself out of a routine rut, and try something new. And as I looked outside -in search of possibilities- the choice was obvious. It was a beautifully mild autumn day, and the mountains of Boulder looked too good to pass up.
This aint no phone camera
     The hike was peaceful. At times eerily quiet, except for the crew of workers who were repairing the trail. I tried my best to enjoy the hike and not just look forward to getting to the top (which I guess is a metaphor for life too). Stepping and breathing cautiously.
     I was under the impression that I had summited Chautauqua before during the initial resolution. But today I discovered that wasn't totally true. In fact the trail we had taken just five years before, zigzags much further up the face of the mountain. So I chose to see just how far it went. The view was incredible. I even ran into a fellow solo-hiker named David at the peak who offered to take my picture. Thanks David!

 A solid way to spend a Monday afternoon. Enjoy some pictures from the endeavor.
Woah Momma.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Day 402: Wear Makeup

Stef stabbing my eyeballs
     I had a good run. Over four hundred challenges. Four hundred new challenges, experiences and lessons learned. With all of these challenges, it's actually sort of surprising that something like this hasn't happened sooner. I would've figured that I would be doing things like this -things that bring a new meaning to the word "uncomfortable"- all the time by this point in my project. Today got weird, I let Stef slather me in makeup, and I'm currently writing it up and attaching pictures to show my friends and loved ones. I'll admit that it all sounds pretty weird, but I'll also say this; experiences like this are long overdue. I started this project with a couple of things in mind. I wanted to get out and have some more fun, sure. But I also instilled this routine behavior in my daily life so I can get a clear feeling of where my boundaries are. Many of these experiences; Attend a Women's Workout ClassTake a Pregnancy Test, and Practicing Witchcraft, have done a lot more for me than get me a few strange looks from friends and concerned messages about my recent life choices over social media. These experiences helped me pinpoint exactly where my comfort zone was, specifically so I could use these experiences to step past the boundaries I had placed around myself. Sure these challenges are silly, a boy taking a pregnancy test, or dabbling in witchcraft, but I feel like there's something to be said about following through with these sort of things. Of course I knew I wasn't pregnant, and never would be, but if I never put myself in many girl's shoes, I'd never know about that small slice of their life. I, thanks to my odd behaviors, am now more relatable to women who have gone through that. I just feel like life is too beautiful and exciting to deny myself the simple pleasure of experiencing as much of it as possible. Even if that means getting a little (or according to my father, very) silly every now and then. So yeah, today I let Stef put makeup on me. Then I even put some on myself. I did it, not because I have any intention of ever doing it again, or even because I found myself remotely attractive with it. I put makeup on today, because I wouldn't have any idea what it's like if I didn't. If I didn't follow through with it, my comfort zone and experiences in life wouldn't been limited because of that decision. Enough of me defending why I do the weird things I do. On to the makeup!
     It's safe to say that I know absolutely nothing about makeup. I figured that foundation was going to be the foundation of the process, but that's about it. I remember Stef viciously trying to poke my eye out with a black pokey stick. There were brushes and creams and even some lipstick. I felt better that I pressured Ryan to join in on the fun, and together we looked like the ugliest, sluttiest, girls in school.

Day 401: Bubble On The Tongue Trick

     Things were getting late on our Fourth of July celebrations and I still hadn't found a new thing to try (big surprise). I mentally searched through files in my memory of things that I could try (with minimal effort). One idea stuck out in particular, an idea that was suggested to me by Stef. She told me that her cousin could produce a saliva bubble on her tongue, then blow it off, like the bubbles we all used to play with back in the days of Rugrats and Choco-Tacos. I'll include a video tutorial that I watched, and that'll explain just about everything you need to know.
     I will say that I was not successful in blowing a bubble off my tongue. I'm fairly certain that I was able to produce the bubble a couple times, but I don't have the best view of my tongue so I could be wrong. I only drooled on myself once, but I definitely spat everywhere. I would say that I'm willing to try it till I master it, but this challenge (and the tongue dexteriety required) were all too similar to the frustrations I felt when I attempted to Whistle Like A Man. My tongue is really terrible at super intricate movements, it's a wonder I can even eat at all.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Day 400: Power Yoga

     I've tried yoga as a challenge before, but I was assured by Stef that Power Yoga (with Jillian Michaels) is a whole new experience, and I gotta say, I agree. It was seriously hard to do, and I'm not just saying that cause I'm a weakling. I was sweating within seconds of holding my first pose. And I was totally taking a knee a couple times when Stef couldn't see. The stupid planks to downward dogs to warrior three's to whatever else she said was too much. There was this one pose in particular that I hated most of all. She was balancing on one foot and getting her chi on. She seemed to watch me through the screen of the TV with a knowing grin as I struggled and sweat. Try it if you dare, yoga, and power yoga, just are not for me.

Day 399: Make A Blow Dart Gun


With the MEDEYUM sticker!
     This one was awesome! And I totally owe Ryan for coming up with the idea AND buying all the materials to make it happen. He picked up some pvc pipe and other tools and met at my place to tackle some major blow-dart awesomeness. We followed some instructions via YouTube video, and replicated them the best we could. The bullets were made from cone shaped sticky notes fitted to the size of the tube, and we completed the gun with some sweet camouflage duct tape. This challenge doesn't need much explanation, just this sweet video of a shot I got on film.