Category Archives: Writing

Help Pick My Next Book Cover

How about helping me pick my next book cover?  Click the pictures to expand the photos.  Thanks for your help!

The Hermetic Mysteries of Christmas Revisited

I’ve written about the Hermetic Mysteries of Christmas before —  here and here.  What’s a “mystery?”  In the religious sense, “mysteries” are the wondrous things we feel when we put ourselves inside a myth and allow ourselves to fully experience it as if we are there.  The word mystery comes to us from Greek musterion and Latin mysterium where it means “a secret rite or ritual.

Within Catholic and Orthodox Christianity we see embedded the esoteric methods and essential nature of the Greco-Roman mysteries — updated to serve the goal of Christian salvation.

Four Ways to Seek the Christmas Mysteries This Year

  1. Gospel Reading Meditation.  Get out your Bible and turn to the gospel of Luke.  Read Luke 2:1-20.  Then close your Bible, shut your eyes, and regulate your breathing to a steady rhythm.  Imagine that you are one of the shepherds, sitting by the fire with your friends and brothers, watching over the flocks, when an angel appears.  Allow the story to unfold in your mind’s eye.
  2. Go to a live Nativity Scene.  Try, despite the presence of the other viewers, to imagine you are one of the shepherds as outlined above.
  3. Experience the Joyous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Click here for instructions.  If you have never prayed the Rosary before you are in for a treat.  The basic idea is that you repeat certain prayers while you meditate on the Joyous Mysteries — the Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the Nativity of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple.
  4. Watch this amazing lecture by Jonathan Pageau.  See below.  Jonathan is an Orthodox Christian icon carver, a skilled artisan who understands Christian symbolism as deeply as any churchman — perhaps even more deeply — having spent so many intimate hours carving these sacred images.

Experiencing the Christmas Mysteries as if we are fully present within them is the greatest Christmas “present” we could ever hope for.  

How to Stimulate Your Creativity

It’s more than counter-intuitive.  It just plain doesn’t make sense.  And yet, here it is in all its messed up, crazy, inside-out glory — one of the most powerful and yet simple methods for stimulating creativity and creative ideas.

Try it.  Let me know how it works by commenting below.

Training Randomness in Martial Arts

Over the years I’ve talked a deal about the importance of introducing randomness into martial arts training.  Although some things seem to mesh better with linear progression training, like lifting weights (for me at least), introducing some randomness into training has real benefits.

One of the benefits you get from introducing randomness in your martial arts training is the ability to deal with the unexpected.  Chaos is really annoying.  But its real and you to learn to handle it.

Here’s an overview of what is and is not random in my training regimen these days.

Random

Solo martial arts practice (four days/week).  I select random martial arts focuses by pulling labeled Popsicle sticks out of a pile.  Why not roll dice?  I want some randomness, but I need to cover all bases.  This method insures that, assuming I get through all the sticks in two weeks, I never get rusty at anything.

Running (twice per week).  I roll dice using the following program.  I have no idea if I’m running 3 miles for pace, half a mile as fast as I can, shuttle runs with a weighted vest, or what-have-you.

Extra calisthenics (whenever I feel like it).  I use PTDICE.  I have a few sets left.  Email me and I’ll sell you a set for $15 postage paid.

Not Random

Group martial arts training.  We stick with one  martial concentration and one constitutional (a 7 exercise deep calisthenics routine) for a full month before switching.

Weights (twice per week).  Still, I rotate out all exercises every 6 weeks.  Here’s some info about LPs.

Grip training (5 days/week).  Heath/maintenance 3 days/week,  pushing limits 2 days/week.  I’ve written a lot about this over the years, but recently I’m getting better results more safely.  More to come soon.

I Suck and You Can Too

This is me after my 3 mile tire run yesterday morning.

Earlier this month I tried and failed to beat my 2016 personal record at the calisthenics nightmare called Self-Destruct Sequence.

But that’s not the point.  

After that, two friends of mine, Scott and Leo, completed it for the first time with very respectable times.  Several others beat the pants off me, namely James, Robert and Arman (who got it done in a blistering 23:59).  Then, over the weekend, world famous coach Mark Hatmaker smashed all of us with a superhuman 21:05 (read all about it here).

Lots of people out-performed me.  That’s the not the point.

The point is that I inspired and connected with some of the coolest, most determined guys around. 

Yesterday morning I completed a 3 mile tire run in under 40 minutes.  Why?  Because it’s one of the achievements in the Cabal Fang Cord and Rule Program.  And because, although I did it a couple of years ago, I haven’t done it lately and I said I was starting over.

For those who like stats, my time was 36:21 and I used a Hankook 205/65R16 weighing in at almost exactly 20 lbs.  But that’s not the point.

The point is that you can go pick up that tire and go give it a try.  And together we can inspire each other, and everyone around us, to get stronger.

There was a time when I was 80 lbs overweight, when I struggled to keep minimum wage jobs, couldn’t manage my finances, couldn’t keep a marriage together, couldn’t control my own behavior much less raise a child, and couldn’t keep a friend if my life depended on it.  On top of all that, I was spiritually unfulfilled and depressed most of the time.

Martial arts helped me turn things around. 

Everything I learned from doing things wrong, and all the martial arts lessons I’ve picked up over the last 30+ years, are embedded in Cabal Fang.

Nowadays I’m fairly fit, financially stable, mostly reliable, and reasonably well behaved.  I’ve been happily married for 20+ years,  have lots of fantastic friends, and I’m enrolled in seminary.  But my personal improvement isn’t the point.

The point is that you can get stronger, happier and more successful — probably even stronger, happier and more successful than me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My (Still) Bestselling Calisthenics Book

I have 4.5 stars on Kobo, see?

I still can’t believe my Calisthenics eBook has been a bestseller for over three years.  It’s still #3 in Health and Fitness at Smashwords, although it has fallen from an all-time high of I think #19 all they way down to #37 at B&N.  Reviews average 4 out of 5 stars.

And how much money does a writer make from a bestselling eBook on Calisthenics?  About $30/month, a few hundred bucks a year.

So how about helping a brother out?  Go get yourself some!

 

Only 3.5 stars on Scribd. What can I say — haters gonna hate.

 

 

For The Veterans

“Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day.  On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom; and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

~excerpt from Title 3 — The President — Proclamation 3071, 11/11/54

Forrest J. Mitchell Jr.(9/1/1895 – 3/25/1953) — World War I (my grandfather)

F. J. Mitchell III — World War II (my uncle)

Robert E. Mitchell

Robert E. Mitchell (11/21/34 – 7/8/08 ) – Cold War — my father

Richard D. Mitchell (10/13/27 – 3/27/89) — served approx. 1946 – 1949 (my uncle)