The Way of the Seal

Hello there. I just completed a purchase that I was unsure about. I wasn’t unsure about the author or whether I should read this actual book. Honestly, I’d been anticipating the revised version of this wish list item with intent to purchase and read it eventually. I’d listened to interviews with Commander Divine and had thoroughly enjoyed reading (and somewhat following through with) the lessons taught by him and his daughter Catherine in the book, Kokoro Yoga. Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of the ideas and principles in this book. I was proud of the work I’d done on my “personal ethos” and the ideas I’d learned or had reinforced and affirmed by that book. I only wished it were enough to satisfy my appetite for the ideas and training it offered. If you don’t know already, I’ll share with you that Commander Mark Divine is a former Navy Seal who has authored many books (such as 8 Weeks to SealFIT) that seek to instill an “unbeatable mind” and the spirit of a warrior (Kokoro) in anyone who is willing to face the requisite challenges. He is also a successful businessman who hosts a podcast (Unbeatable Mind) and provides many personal development programs including his elite level Kokoro Camp that prepares graduates for special ops training touting an 80-90% success rate for prospective SEALS who undergo BUD/S, the required training for anyone hoping to become a Navy SEAL.

Note that I am a veteran Special Education teacher looking to be a successful writer and businessperson in order to provide wealth, a strong example of honest, purposeful living and an enduring legacy of hope for my children and future descendants. I’m particularly concerned, however, about my own ability to do so with my mental and physical challenges and serious financial deficits. My wife of 10 years and I recently separated and have incompatible visions for our lives with conflicting beliefs about health, spirituality and overall lifestyle. I’ve changed jobs and relocated. I hope to return to school and attend a respected university nearby. Yet my income is dwarfed by my debt and monthly bill which are pushing me to desperately seek a way to overcome an abundance of challenges to reaching my goals.

Honestly, I thought that my best place to go next for coaching from Commander Divine was his first book Unbeatable Mind as part of a foundation to face my present challenges. And since I was taking my 9 year old daughter to the bookstore to buy her a new book, it seemed best that we both pick up our new books together.

As luck would have it, Unbeatable Mind was not in stock and would be more expensive to special order than ordering it online. The clerk asked if I’d like to look in that section at similar books, so I inquired about the newly revised The Way of the Seal by Commander Divine. I had listened to the introduction read by him on his podcast and looked forward to getting it after I was done with Unbeatable Mind first. However, I just rolled with and now feel more excited after reading the introduction for myself. The layout shown in the table of contents is very appealing, and the descriptions of each chapter are clearly relevant to my personal development goals. I also know that some of the tips and philosophy from this and Kokoro Yoga overlap, and I’m hoping to broaden and deepen my understanding and apply this knowledge with more consistency and focus. Indeed, it will be groundbreaking as I have many goals and desire to create a routine that integrates my preferred practices and the ones taught by Coach Divine.

My primary hope is that this will help me redefine and commit to my goals and vision in a very real and practical way. Another positive effect of all of this will hopefully be to tap into my potential for leadership with an emphasis on the mental toughness and emotional resiliency that “Unbeatable Mind” concept is all about. With consistent hard work and follow through, I one day hope to be able to complete the Kokoro Yoga and/or other trainings offered by Coach Divine in the coming years. Perhaps, it can help me take myself from my current place as a reluctant runner to a fit and more competitive athlete. That may be a lot to ask from a book. However, the book is but one of many catalysts–primarily as a guide–to get me to do what I’m ultimately asking of myself as I aspire to personal greatness.



Highly Recommended!!

Just read the first half and you’ll want to finish for sure. Even if it’s a familiar subject as it is for me, the writing and perspective are very clarifying and affirming. Highly recommended!! via Knowledge is the roadmap for change, character is the fuel for change.

My Prayer (rough draft)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

My Prayer

May I be wealthy enough to care for my family

May I be strong enough to care for the weak

May I be gentle, patient and skillful in struggle

May I be self-aware and mindful in dealing with others

May I be healthy enough to be present for my children

May I be honest enough to be worthy of trust

May I be wise enough to bring little or no harm to myself and others

May I be joyful enough to want to share life’s goodness

May I be aware enough to have great empathy and compassion

May I know suffering enough to put justice in action

May I maintain a kindness and gentleness of spirit

May I know truth to share with those who may need it

May I inspire any who seek proof that life is worth living

May I know gratitude daily and be generous in giving

May I serve well as I journey through today

May I know peace, love, and grace along the way


Four Thought Friday #2 (Late! Sorry… it’s Saturday)

I suppose I could use the holidays as an excuse, but I had never planned to take this Friday off. So I apologize. I’m trying to get this thing going here. Hopefully if you enjoyed the first edition of this, you will like this one as well.

I recently had a video call with a friend that I made almost by accident on the internet. I’ll tell you more about the friend later, because I didn’t tell him that I would reference our conversation here. However, our first live conversation across a few miles lead to a very fluid and rewarding conversation. It was something he and I had tried to schedule for months. And it was mostly spontaneous with no agenda. We had a lot in common despite us having very different backgrounds. He gave a lot of tips for what I expressed interest in doing as far as mindfulness work and finding a local teacher. I have a lot of homework to do that will only lead to more rewards in the future.

I also talked a lot with my younger sister lately. She has been my best friend, mentor, coach, accountability partner, and personal search engine all from her own free will. She knows that 2017 has been hard for me, and she knows that I’m stalling on my dream despite some very good reasons. Those are my words–not hers. She never once shamed or guilted me about any of the choices I’ve made. She just made a lot of sense out of what I thought were complicated choices. I do have research to do to follow up (i.e. more homework), but it’s a lot clearer now what I should be doing going forward.

  1. So here goes: my first thought is… never underestimate the power of conversation and friendship. Also, you never know where you will benefit them or where they will benefit you. I once thought that if I had a romantic relationship, I would feel complete or fulfilled. On paper this seems obviously mistaken, but in my head it was a swirl of spontaneous imagination and unexplainable impressions that this simple statement can’t do justice to. Words and concepts are limited and no experience of reality can be wholly predicted based on our limited thoughts and knowledge. It doesn’t mean we can’t trust our minds; however, they are not to be fully relied on in anticipation of life experience. We have to take our own thoughts and “knowledge” with a grain of salt.
  2. Next thought: Just because you toughen up, doesn’t mean you can’t be your sensitive self. Being tougher and becoming calloused are two different things. More on this one to come. Being in the “pain cave” is not the end of the world. It is not to be feared, because despite our self-doubt, it can be the source of our greatest work. Working through what seems impossible or unrelenting in its challenge to our pain threshold can be the work of a lifetime. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for it to get smooth, but our opportunities are often merely “dressed in overalls and look like work” (Thomas Edison, I believe).
  3. Thirdly, take care of yourself and reevaluate constantly if you’re actually doing it. Real sleep is taking care of yourself. 5 hours on your phone is not. Writing down your thoughts is taking care of yourself or even reflecting thoughtfully with specific questions. Ruminating and endless worry is not. Treating yourself to a specific treat at a specific time is taking care of yourself. A mindless spending spree is not. (Who is going to take care of you when the money you so desperately needed for the essentials is gone. How painful is that scenario in the long run?)
  4. Finally, vacations are temporary. It’s nice to get away. It’s nice to wander aimlessly. It’s nice to just be. But vacations should also be rejuvenating and not just in the “day spa” sense. But catching up on loose ends could leave you a bit less stressed when you head back to school or work. It might seem like added stress to address things during a vacation, but in the long term, resolution of problems can be the biggest stress relief. The primary point I wanted to make however, is to invest some time 30 minutes to an hour (even a day if your life provides for it) getting your mindset right for your return to work. Time off is an opportunity to prepare for when you have to be on again. This prep should not be approached as a grim duty. It is something you get to do, because if you were working or stressed from school, your mind may not be ripe for it. It can be as simple as making a list for the week ahead, writing some affirmations that lay out a more positive outlook on the coming days, laying out an update to your morning routine, making a list of revised priorities, or just reflecting on the things you promised yourself that you would do when you returned. As for the last one, my mind often seems as if its been wiped once I leave work on that last day. One last suggestion: simply choosing to sit and meditate may be all you need as the “lead domino” to get things going in a positive direction. Because believe or not, vacations end. It’s best to find a way to accept it positively rather than fighting (“Sunday Blues” style) with it during your last few moments of respite. Dreading the inevitable is often so much worse than the reality. Plan for the future so that you can return to appreciating the present.

I know I tend to get preachy, but still it’s a style thing. I’m refining it. I mostly scratch my own itch and then share the tools (after cleaning them up for you… lol). So take it or leave it. If nothing else, I hope it’s interesting to you. I’m not going to do a drawn out conclusion, because I am still on vacation. It seems like it could be a full day. ahead of me. So enjoy yourselves and continue to move forward. Thank you for reading this, and I hope that you are well and prosperous. (I mean this not only for the new year, but for all time.) Peace and love!

Four Thought Friday!! 1st Friday!

Four Thought Friday #1

  1. You should take an inventory of fears. You will quickly see what makes you tick and what holds you back. I’ve often thought to myself that I should do this. I finally did this once I heard Terry Crews on the Tim Ferriss show say this was key for him. It’s hard to overcome fear without identifying it. Even if you meditate or study your mind and heart through other practices, you can only become more enlightened by this activity.
  1. You should be bored if you want to be creative. I know stimulation helps give ideas. I know that knowledge feeds the mind with possibilities. However, in my experience, provides a canvas for the most creative ideas is space. That space is the wide open mind. Physical activity like washing dishes with little thought to what you’re doing or even just letting things be is where the ideas spring up the most. Plus, boredom provides the reason for the mind to create. The void is the invitation to the mind to fill in the empty space. So my advice is to be grated when your phone doesn’t give you the endless entertainment you want. Put it down and invite the play of the free mind to go to work.
  2. Try the checklist approach. If routines as failing to get going when you schedule certain practices, think of how many times per week you should do each practice. Make a checklist and track each one. It won’t happen automatically. You still have to decide each morning which one or two practices to do. But it promotes success without the monotony of a single routine. Of course, you are using more mental energy, yet the payoff in feelings of success and inspiration may be worth it.
  3. Explore your sense of pride and how it can help you. To be too proud can come at a cost in humility that is essential to spiritual and personal growth, yet totally banishing pride is self-sabotage. There are in my experience two types, at least, of pride. One is an ever present sense of self that protects the ego. This pride is what we should avoid. Momentary pride that is earned as a result of doing something challenging is almost necessary to ultimate success. That pride, when experienced or anticipated, can be a potent motivator to do the hard stuff. Sometimes it is the one difference maker when the sense of doubt or cynicism appears telling you that it’s all for nothing. A close cousin to this is self-respect. You should seek to have both but pride seems to have more short term appeal. The caveat for pride always is to let it go before moving on to the next objective or goal. If you swim in it to deeply, you risk drowning your ultimate purpose.

Final Thoughts:

Happy Friday everyone! Count your blessings even if in a secular sense. We’ve all made it this far and likely will live to see another year. The improbability I’d even bring here is mind-blowing. The infinite reality and potentialities we get to experience are more than we can even realize with our human minds. It’s still there for you to tap into. This appreciation has great power to uplift despite the circumstances. So keep your head up, love yourself, others, and the world you live while you have the opportunity. Enjoy this season as even when it returns in the coming year(s), it will never be exactly the same. Even the mundane becomes sacred when we really realize what it is to live.

Seasons greetings and Happy Holidays! Much love.


The Superstars

The oxidation of the vape in my I lungs I could sense quite deeply. Could it have been the ginger and sassafras tea I’d had to get through my last couple of hours at work? That was before tonight’s dinner and special dessert—an apple martini. I needed a feel good tonic to follow up a most satisfying meal of a burger and fries. How could I possess the characteristics of the wise, the worldly and the juvenile within the same soul? In the court of diverse company, all three were charges I remember being asserted sincerely by those I pretended to know.

This tasty pain reliever, however, had done nothing for the sprained ankle I had sustained playing touch football after work with my fellow staff. On a controversial call by the line judge, the boss’s son, it was determined that my leaping catch for a touchdown was not what it was. So I stubbornly ran the same precise route hoping to reclaim the glory that had been stolen and kept a clearly superior team from being the victors in this messy battle that was supposedly a morale building exercise. 

I ran the same pattern I had watched my favorite wide receiver perform on fall Sundays. I ran toward the right sideline cutting back suddenly to spring towards the goal line freeing myself of my defender with a cut back to the right when my left foot buckled underneath me. Youthful vigor I had projected until my collapse that reduced me to the middle aged man that I denied being during my time on the field. I was cold and delirious four feet from the resting place of the ball that had apparently been thrown my way. I could only lay there and close my eyes.

As I came back to my senses, the memory thinned replaced by the impression that the mood at the bar had settled. I turned around to see a Beyoncé lookalike twirl her shining golden hair that appeared to be of a natural texture and  beyond-shoulder length.  Her locks, of course, were originally a much darker color he was sure like the singer she emulated. 

As she leaned to speak to the piano man who seemed to be attentive without relenting on his fingering of the keys. She didn’t have a tip for the request bucket, but the fidgety man on the bench didn’t seem to care. Yet in contrast to his seamless weaving of tunes throughout the evening, he abruptly switched to a tune that was reminiscent of a carnival. Quite remarkably, I could picture the booths of games that promised big prizes at a dollar for 3 tries. The exact tune began to register as quite familiar in my mind. I turned again to see her innocent smile as she leaned against the edge of this large, black wooden instrument. It occurred to me in that moment that she worked here at this place of unrest. She had a bag with her that must’ve been a change of clothing from her previous shift. She didn’t look as if she had done much work at all. She appeared ready for a long night of something. Just what might that be?

I began to imagine just who this person was in actual life? What was her name? What plans might she must have for the night? Did she have kids? Was she… attached? Certainly, she would not continue hanging around this hardly upscale, over-priced bar—her place of work no less. Certainly this town had many more offerings for a such a lady on a Friday night. My night may have been nearly over. For her and the other superstars, the night was just beginning.

Finding Patrick

Finding Patrick

By Patrick Norris
Finding Patrick
Reading Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra is my latest challenge. I say challenge for a few reasons. This challenge comes in a few forms such as maintaining my own mindfulness of the story, allowing full concentration and awareness of any gems that are shared based on how relevant they are to me, and not to mention my empathy for and connection to the younger and older Rich whose words are so applicable, fun, heartbreaking and relatable (especially being of similar age) that I can’t help but viscerally feel the life and passion that stirs within these pages. It’s difficult to pay attention with the shifts in setting yet embrace it all to ride along with his agile, dramatic writing style. My ADHD may be able handle it during my better hours, but it’s a practice. My purpose in reading this book is to find my own Ultra in the form of suitable focused physical activity that brings some sort of fulfillment and health improvement at the age of 41. It also lends itself to my ultimate goal to be a writer and actualize myself to the fullest extent possible.

To help you fully appreciate this I would have to go into my own story in greater detail. My health is what it is as a 188 lb. African American type 1 diabetic male (cis-gender/heterosexual) father with 3 children. I have heart challenges and sleep apnea. So I’m trying to lose weight and reverse some of these things. I also labor daily against depression, anxiety and ADHD to name the more mental or psychological afflictions. So in the next installment, I will tap into my own story and how it links to Finding Ultra sharing how I’m doing with this book and the struggles that I am going through to an extent. I intend to keep it genuine and purposeful with gratitude for your time and attention.
If you don’t know about Rich Roll and you have a Smartphone, the best place to start is with his podcast published under his own name; so search for it. He is a triathlete and ultra marathon runner who has overcome many obstacles in middle age and credits much of it to his vegan/plant-based diet. He is truly an excellent example of what could be accomplished despite your past, your age, and even seemingly innate limitations. His podcasts are long form and feature many really valuable interviews with well-know and lesser known but authentically uplifting and value-rich human beings. Hope you find this informative and off course you can purchase or checkout (library/similar service) his book Finding Ultra. Rich does not know me (yet), and no value was exchanged for promotion. This is a sharing from my heart. Thanks for reading as this section was not something I originally intended to do. Thanks. Peace and Grace.
P.S. For more of my musings, conjecture and aberrations, please follow me on Twitter at @patrickwritesct and Instagram at @patrickstillrunsct. @patrickrunsct is my old account. You may message me as a heads up that you found me here, and I will gladly approve your request as it is a private account.