¹ruffle \rəf·əl\ vb 1. to roughen or abrade 2. to stand up (as in feathers or a collar) 3. to flip through as in the pages of a book 4. to fold back and forth in accordion fashion
²ruffle \rəf·əl\ n 1. a state or cause of agitation 2. a commotion or brawl 3. a surface disturbance ie. a ripple 4. a strip of fabric pleated on one edge 5. a low vibrating drumbeat
Yesterday was Patrick Henry‘s birthday. I’m a big fan. I went to visit his house at Scotchtown last year. Henry was a contrarian and an expert at ruffling feathers. In honor of Patrick Henry’s birthday yesterday, allow me to ruffle your feathers with some of my favorite contrarian quotes from history and fiction.
- “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” ~Patrick Henry, Patrick Henry, Champion of Liberty
- “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and generally more useful.” ~Mark Rippetoe
- “When deep space exploration ramps up, it will be the corporations that name everything, the Microsoft Galaxy, the IBM stellar sphere, Planet Starbucks… “ ~Narrator, Fight Club
- “We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra. Martha Stewart.” ~Narrator, Fight Club
- “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
- “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character.” ~Winston Wolfe, Pulp Fiction
- “I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it, and pitied it.” ~Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
- “You don’t win wars with niceness, doctor. You win wars with guts.” ~Col. Chester Phillips, Captain America: The First Avenger
- “When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. But lawyers have other strategies including buying a stronger whip, changing riders, declaring that the horse is better, faster and cheaper dead, and finally, harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.” Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, The Wall Street Journal, 2/18/99
Ruffle: Mettle Maker #262
- Warm up before you train. To avoid injuries, warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes before you train. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF. Here’s a fun MBF warm-up: 8 minutes of low-intensity 4-rep sets of HSPU, Shots, Spike Sprawls, and Shoulder Rolls.
- Don’t “work out.” Train. If you don’t have a plan or you’re just doing something to burn calories, you are “working out.” Stop. Think about where you want to go and devise a plan to get there. What are the fundamental movements, fitness requirements, and success indicators in your martial art or sport endeavor? What are you doing to tailor your training to suit them? If you’re stuck, start here.
- Read a book. Research indicates that reading rewires and strengthens the mind, increases empathy, builds vocabulary, fights cognitive decline, reduces stress, aids sleep, alleviates depression, and lengthens lifespan. Read more here. I read three in the last two weeks — A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Old Catholic Church, Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies, and Relation of Virginia: A Boy’s Memoir of Life with the Powhatans and the Patawomecks. If you want to read a book a week, you’re going to have to put down your cell phone, power off your Switch, and close your laptop. Get there.
- Go outside in the rain.
Look, the holes are in bottom of your nose and your skin is uniquely suited prevent absorption of falling water. I promise that, no matter how stupid you are or how wet you get, you will neither drown nor stay wet forever. Few things are better for mood and resilience than cultivating the ability take joy in inclement weather. Get dirty!
- Practice contemplation — one of the four essential methods of spiritual development. Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open. Do not fidget, wiggle or scratch. Allow your thoughts to dissipate like ripples on a pond and your mind to approach a state of calm and relaxed awareness. Do not think at all, but especially not in words — do not evaluate, judge, make lists, fixate on emotions, let your mind wander, or any of that. Just breathe and be. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes. Eventually you should be able to do this for an hour if so desire.
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