Is this the end?

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One of my biggest frustrations in life is that I work my ass off to improve myself in some area, whether in fitness or spirituality, only to have it ruined or close to ruined thanks to emotional vampires. I especially mean emotional vampires with a narcissistic personality disorder. While I train in marital arts, read ancient texts, or even struggle to meditate those same people do absolutely nothing of the sort. Many of them even indulge in their every desires. Yet, whenever they feel like, through emotional outbursts, snide comments, or simple betrayals they cause me much upset.

Yesterday was the case.

Part of the reason why my family has so much drama is that one member has a narcissistic personality disorder and is very much a high conflict person. A high conflict personality has a preoccupation with blaming others, especially one person, for all their problems yet does not seem to want to resolve their issues. In my case, I am the reason why everyone is miserable. Yet when I wanted to go back to Thailand, I was forbidden to do so.

I couldn’t even work.

I mean I was in the office and I was working, but battling with so many emotions affected my productivity. I was too distracted and too panicked to concentrate on my job. Of course, if I quit my job I will be called a bum and a lowlife by my family. The “nice” thing is I can tell them I am a bum and lowlife even if I still keep on working.

As a result of these upsets, I also couldn’t do my 2nd or 3rd readings. As a result of these upsets, I couldn’t even exercise and do qigong.

This has happened before and with different people. There was that guy Anson I knew in Korea. That guy Bosco I knew in Thailand. I also had an ex-girlfriend, also in Korea, who did everything she could to make sure I didn’t cultivate myself. I remember that smile she gave when I told her I stopped.

At work, I was thinking about all of those people and those issues. I thought about those types of people were always a part of my life and I struggle with maintaining whatever cultivation practice what I am doing while dealing with their drama.

What really gets to me to the most is that there is no chance for peaceful resolution. They have a kill or be killed mindset. No victory is too petty for them and yet no victory is enough. No matter how many times they got their way with me or I placate them, it is never enough and they will never relent.

The only way I know how to resolve this problem in a peaceful manner is to separate from them as far as possible. I know of this because once the other English teachers and I all ended our contracts and left for America or any other country, all this conflict disappeared. I would even email them to ask why they had a problem with me and many of them were like, “Yeah, we did fight a lot, but I forgot why.”

I remember why. I was trying to be happy with myself and they don’t think I deserve to be. Since they see me as imperfect, then I should feel miserable for the rest of my days.

In my current situation, it is hard for me to separate from my family. My work hours are crazy. I rack my brain on how I can get my paperwork in order. Sometimes, I have to work from home because I don’t have access to a car!

This whole situation has sapped my energy and willpower. At this moment, I work. I work a full time job and what little free time I have left I spend on cultivation such as qigong, exercise, and reading. I never read a novel or watch TV or play video games unless it is the weekend when I have more free time on my hands.

I never have fun from Monday thru Friday. The only way I can have free time is to stop with all these cultivation efforts. In Thailand or Korea it is a lot more possible. In America? Forget about it!

This is why I am at a point to give up all sorts of cultivation. Hell, I even wrote a post titled “This is the Last Workout I will ever do” for that same reason.

I know that when I give up any cultivation efforts, I have more time to fart around on the internet. I have more time to play video games, read bad sci-fi novels, and watch movies. I can have more time to wander about looking at the leaves while drinking a coffee.

Of course, I also know that if I give up on my cultivation I will struggle with this feeling of decay. I would not exercise which means my health will get worse with ages and atrophy. I would be stuck only knowing what I know, since I would not be learning anything new. I would be feeling shame for wasting what little time left, even the next 40 years is a little time, waiting until I die.

This is why I am going to take a couple of days off from cultivation. I will still exercise and do some of the readings. The rest of the time will be spent on whether or not I should cultivate myself more and how.

Greatest Salesman Report Month 5:

Full disclosure, last week was rough so I am not in the happiest of moods.

For what it is worth, I go through many days of feeling like I am at the top of the world. I also go through days where I feel frustrated at how things are at my life. The one factor in all of this is my sleep pattern. Almost every Friday I find my sleeping pattern gets radically shifted to mean either I sleep all weekend or I am a total night owl. This is annoying.

I did get a recommendation to apply to a job. I applied and got rejected the next day. That made me feel hopeless.

This month I repeated to myself this line: I will live this day as if it is my last. It is good philosophy. Do everything you can today and don’t waste time on useless and petty issues.

What doesn’t help is that I feel like I am wasting my days away. I should be working towards getting myself visa-ready to work in Taiwan or any other country, but I also find myself trying to unplug myself from the daily stressors. I need to be more disciplined about moving out and I am angry at myself for not doing so.

Sometimes, I wonder if I spend too much time in self-cultivation and not enough on getting the hell out of here.

Don’t get me wrong, and here is what I can say is going for me, my health and fitness has been improving quite steadily. I enjoy doing this calisthenics workout twice a day, the same with qigong. When I am awake enough, the readings I do including the Greatest Salesman one are enjoyable.

But I really got to get myself moving and pronto.

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The picture above is Vishnu in his incarnation as Vamana, the dwarf priest. This is probably the most wholesome story in regards to Vishnu’s avatars.

If you read my last post on Vishnu as a lion-man, you will have read about this prince Prahlada who disobeyed his father and continued to worship Vishnu. In this story, we have his grandson Mahabali who is both devout and ambitious at the same time. King Mahabali was getting so ambitious that Indra, the king of Heaven, was afraid that he would be dethroned. So Indra asked Vishnu for for help and so Vishnu came to Earth and turned into Vamana.

When Vamana walked into the king’s court, Mahabali was willing to give the priest anything he wants. Vamana then asks for a piece of land that is no bigger than three paces of his feet. The king was aghast, since Vamana is a little person, and told the priest that he can grant more. There was another priest in the court who knew Vamana was Vishnu in disguise and told the king to take back his promise, but the king refused and told Vamana so.

Vamana then grew into this really really huge giant and put one foot on the whole of the Earth. He then put his other foot on Heaven. The King obviously saw that the dwarf truly is Vishnu in disguise and was humbled by the sight of the dwarf’s powers. So everyone who witnessed this event was like, “Well the dwarf took Earth and Heaven, what else is there for him to take? He basically has everything.” The king was like, “No, he didn’t take me.”

Out of reverence the king knelt down, with hands folded, and his head in a bow. The king then asked if the priest can put his foot on the king’s head, symbolizing his devotion to Vishnu, to which the priest complied.

Most of the avatars stories that I have been revisiting tend to be very violent with lots of climatic encounters. This feels like a wholesome tale of surrender and devotion. There is no real villain, save for one evil priest but he wasn’t a big deal. In the end lives happily ever after and all is well.

What is also interesting is that this is a first human avatar of Vishnu and the last of the short story/fables in the canon. Starting from the next avatar, they will be a more drawn out in a (dare I say) epic fashion.

You can see a cartoon of this story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lnanB4tvYQ

You can also see an Indian performance done in a traditional manner here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2x8U4yTzlU

Thoughts on My Qigong and Fitness Life 2022年7月30日

It’s better to do a shitty workout than none at all.” I had to tell myself this as I only was able to stay in a plank position for 1 minutes and 17 seconds rather than 1 minute and 40 seconds like I was supposed to.

I also had to remind myself that about a year ago, staying in a plank position for more than 20 seconds sounded too scary for me. The fact that I was able to hold a plank position for as long as I did means I am progressing. It’s not as fast as I would like, but little progress is better than none at all.

I also have to remind myself of the times I tried to set up a workout regimen, especially in Korea, and how some people tried to stop me. Either I would get harassed into drinking sessions, receive nasty text messages, or get pulled into drama by those who have nothing better to do than to start drama.

So again, the fact that I am working out at all means something.

One of my current issues, out of many, is to see how I can do more qigong in a day. I have too many books, DVD, video files, ebooks, and what not to watch or read. I hardly get to them due to my lifestyle. Plus, whenever I do read or watch these media, I keep on racking my brain as to when I can incorporate a certain routine or exercise.

Then I had this idea, if I can’t do anymore qigong why not improve what I am doing instead. Whenever I start my qigong routine, I would simply stand there and hold the qi ball as usual. This time, I did so in a horse stance and held it for 2 minutes. I reread Master Lam Kam Chuen’s book and realized there were some tweaks I need to make, such as letting myself rest for 10 seconds between exercises and shifting my hips on certain balancing moves. I even came across a video of rubbing the top of the fingernails together to circulate qi.

On that end, things are becoming more successful.

Also, I did find some qigong moves in a very unusual place. It is from an old New York City police manual, titled The Police Recruit,  that also has more tips on physical training and self-defense. The author of the book, Arthur W. Wallander, even writes of two breathing exercises. I tried them out and I like it. I might do this when I am in the office and I need a boost through all the drudgery.

The last point I want to make is that from here on out, I need to stop thinking about qigong so much. I will write about my experiences as I keep on practicing, but the problem is I am ruminating a lot over this practice because I want to master qigong as much as I can. Besides, I still got a beer belly, my sleeping pattern is still erratic, this week I have been feeling somewhat bitter, I still got that back problem that wakes me up in the middle of the night.

Also, thinking of all these problems and strongly desiring to do more qigong is becoming a barrier to both my progress as well as my self-discipline. Right before I start qigong practice, I have to muster up the will to do it as if I was about to do 100 burpees!

First of all, I always have to remind myself that, while changes occur the minute I start doing qigong, the changes will manifest on their own time . . . no matter how anxious I get. Therefore, I need to act like a doctor get some patience. Next, all this wanting zaps the joy out of qigong practice and the less fun I have the less I will do.

That is why I am going to stop thinking of qigong. I will still do qigong, but I need to stop thinking about it all the time.

Besides, I need to focus on more important things, one of them being getting a better job so I can get the hell out of here!

Thoughts on My Qigong Life 2022年7月24日

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Long time ago, I watched a video from late Australian Kung-Fu Master Geoff Pike. It’s basically him teaching Ba Duan Jin/Eight Pieces of Brocade which is one of the most popular and widespread qigong routines in the world. What makes this video different from others that teach the same thing is that Pike also has the viewer do a light stretching and warm up before getting into the actual routine.

I tried that before. I would do my daily calisthenics workout (based on Walter Camp’s workout) and then do the qigong routine I learned from David Carradine’s book. I stopped doing that, unfortunately, due to my job.

As nowadays I do a North Korean calisthenics routine and then a qigong routine from Lam Kam Chuen, I came to realize I am finally doing what Master Pike instructed albeit in a different fashion. It’s an observation I had a couple of days ago.

I do want to do more in both in terms of qigong and physical fitness. The next thing I plan to try is to do my Western qigong routine twice a day. Sure, it is not a traditional routine, since I made it, but it helps in both breathing and flexibility. Can I do more? I wish I can but I doubt it. Sleep is an issue and so is the fact that my coworkers would not like me doing any type of self-improvement work while I am on the clock.

Which is why I am going to make sure I drink green tea and listen to John Coltrane whenever I go to work.

My work is not very taxing, physically speaking. I simply show up to my office, clock in, put in my headphones, and get started on whatever tasks I need to do for the day. Mentally speaking is a differently matter. I have all these things that need to be done within 8 hours and I am working really really hard to get them done as soon as possible. Not only do I have to get those regular tasks done, I also get emails coming in to do more on top with what I already have to do. For that matter, since some of my coworkers are taking time off for their vacations, I also have to do their work. Move move move! Get it done get it done get it done! Now now now! Those words run constantly in my mind from when I clock in to when I clock out.

Thanks to all that mental load, I already would feel tired and drained out by the shift’s end. With my already horrible sleeping pattern, I don’t get enough rest to do the same work the next day.

According to Chinese medical theory, it is stress that blocks our flow of qi which brings about all kinds of health disorders. While I am an agnostic on all teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I still agree with that notion that stress is as bad for us as smoking. Stress is what ages us and stress is what tires us. Speaking of “no excuses”, why is tiredness an “excuse” to not exercise? Simply it is because we get too stressed out at work. Sometimes we stress ourselves out, other times other people stress us out, and then we stress other people out. The modern workplace today is an orgy* of stress.

That’s one of the big issues in my workplace. Lots of people in my office try to stress me out. So why I should I help them in stressing myself out? Yes, those same coworkers will feel a sense of temporary satisfaction knowing that I am stressed out as they are, but it’s not like they feel any gratitude towards me for doing so. Never had I had anyone say, “Hey man! Thanks for stressing yourself out for me. Let me buy a six pack for doing me a solid!” If anything, it what is expected of me so that I won’t antagonize them.

Either way, I am getting the short end of the deal. So why not look out for number one and see to it that I relax myself while working? This might seem like I am going to become lazy and not do as much, but I think that is a misconception. Stress zaps our energy which is what we need to do our work. The less stress we feel, the more energy we have. The more energy we have, the more we can do.

Thankfully, I am one of the few who work in the office with the rest working remotely. I won’t have as much trouble getting myself in a relaxed mood. Even if I do have a coworker who tries to make me anxious, it’s mainly because he has too much free time in his hands and feels sorry for himself.

So I figure why not, when I am about to start my shift, I make myself some green tea? Why not play some John Coltrane or Chet Baker songs? I also feel peaceful listening to the koto/guzheng/gayaguem. Why not play those as well? Maybe I can even watch those new videos of rainfalls and waves crashing on the beach to help bring my heart rate down a few notches and then get working.

Some time ago, I wrote about how I would work 45 minutes and then take a break for 15. I don’t do that often enough. Whenever I do, I feel so much better. Maybe, after every 45 minutes, I can do one qigong exercise. Then I can spend those 15 minutes reading. After I am done reading, spend 1 minute one deep breathing. After that: work.

Starting Monday, I want to try. I want to see if, after the work day, I feel as refreshed and rejuvenated as I started.

I certainly hope so.

*Yup, I said a dirty word to get your attention.

 

 

The joy of light exercise

The most important thing I want to tell you all is this: a little exercise goes a long way. Even your exercising does not take a lot of time, even if it is not very intense, you will still get a lot of benefits just for putting some time.

I say this because that is exactly how I have been exercising for the past month. My daily routine is laughably easy. No athlete, military personnel, or anyone in the entertainment industry would take me seriously if I tell them how much, or really how little, I exercise. In my defense, though, I can only exercise this way due to my job’s volatile hours.

Also, with the way I workout, I won’t be on the cover of a fitness magazine anytime soon. I won’t win any races or competitions. It’s not a good idea for me to quit my job and become a model.

All that said, though, I am surprise with how much my health improved with what little exercise I do. My body is becoming more limber. I burn more calories throughout the day. I can walk up the stairs without being winded. I have more energy than expected. I also get a decent endorphin rush.

I have written before that I hate the term “No Excuses”, especially in this post. I still don’t like the term partly because it implies that exercising has to be a chore and an obligation. I find that mindset very counterproductive as sooner or later people will working out. Nobody likes doing anything that is obligatory. Unless you love mathematics or use it for work, do you still solve math equations? Chances are, after you graduated high school or university probably not.

That’s why I always say, Rule #1: Make fitness fun. If you don’t enjoy it, then you will probably won’t do it. That’s also why you would make up “excuses” as well.

Also, the idea of improving one’s health by working out in a lax manner sounds preposterous. After all, many workout routines on various forms of media tend to be pretty heavy and very strenuous. This all goes back to the notion of “no pain, no gain.” Of course, the routines do help get rapid results. This is also because there is this demand/notion that we cannot be happy unless we have the body of Lou Ferrigno or Cindy Crawford (and anyone else in the between the gender binary). I also think that the whole obsession on the results take away the focus on the journey and it’s the journey that is just as important—if not, more.

One another reason I cannot say “no excuses” is because the exercises I do took a lot of research. Not only did I do my research in the Internet Archive, which is more difficult than using the library, I also did my research in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. In fact, my main workout is from North Korea.

While it is nice to have a fit and athletic body, chances are most of us don’t really need one. I think that if everyone lowered their own fitness standards and focus more on general health and well-being, then it would be a lot easier to get started on a fitness program.

As for those who spend hours a day or week working out, I am not knocking you at all. I used to do the same things as a former amateur (mediocre) Taekwondo practitioner. The fact that you can do those things makes me jealous because someday I want to get myself back into hardcore martial arts training. So if spending all that time working out makes you happy, then go for it whether or not I say otherwise.

For those who do want to improve their health but have no time, for those who want to get fit but are too afraid of discomfort and possible pain, for those who are out of shape but want to be athletic, do not despair. You can get a lot even if you do very little. You might even get yourself to a point that doing something more challenging will be possible.

Even if you only do a senior citizen’s fitness routine, an office workout, or knee push-ups with modified squats you will see more improvements than anticipated.

Don’t think of the punishment you get for not exercising, think of the rewards and the rewards are plenty.

If someone you know does criticize you for not exercising hard enough and for going for slower results, don’t let them get to you. It is their problem more than yours and it is you living your life and not them.

There is always hope.

You can do it.

Thoughts on My Qigong Life 2022年7月9日

Why did I post up the Carl Spitzweig’s painting, “The Butterfly Hunter”? Because I can only post up so many pictures of qigong and Taiji practitioners until it becomes boring.

Qigong is a special kind of exercise system. The main purpose of qigong is to control and regulate one’s breath, but 99% of qigong routines also include some movements. Some of the movements involve extremely light cardio, some extremely light stretching, and even some extremely light isometrics. I say “extremely light” because the entire routine is hardly strenuous, very relaxing, and there is almost no sweating involved. You can do qigong anywhere and in almost any type of clothing as long as it allows freedom of movement. Normally, I do my first qigong practice before I shower but sometimes I do my first practice after I shower. That is how little sweating is involved.

At the same time, those positive attributes can also be negative ones as well.

Let’s talk about conventional exercise. Whenever you go for a run, lift weights, or follow along a Joanna Soh workout video you are putting yourself under some strain. You are sweating. You are breathing harder than ever before. You are making yourself tired. These are all uncomfortable feelings but at least you know that your body is going through a transformation soon enough.

With qigong and other internal Chinese martial arts, you don’t get that feeling. Qigong feels so relaxing and gentle that I sometimes ask myself, “What is the point that of doing all of this? I can also relax by lying down and watching a movie.”

Of course there is a point in doing qigong and it does help improve one’s physical and mental health. A couple of months ago, when I exclusively focused on qigong due to my coworker, I saw improvements in my well-being. It just takes awhile and one has to be patient.

I don’t consider myself as impatient, but qigong is really teaching me a thing or two about patience. Again, I do these movements for seemingly no reason at all and it will take time for the benefits to manifest. So it is a question of persistence and consistency in practice.

It is almost like a dopamine detox in a sense. This is a more difficult version of gratification delay than one can get in running or zumba.

I am also getting a lesson in mindfulness and concentration.

Since the moves are so relaxing, it gets too easy for my mind to wander. Here I am doing this routine and I start thinking about work or about what movie I want to watch or anything else. Next thing you know I am on the 5th move of the routine only to ask myself, “Did I skip over the 4th move? I don’t remember doing it. Maybe I should do that move just to be safe.”

So in order for me to prevent that and save more time, I make sure to focus on my exercising. It is getting easier as the days go by.

If there is one thing I want to say, though, before I write more on my practice it is this: qigong is the perfect exercise for those who don’t like or are afraid of exercising.

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For the past month I have been practicing a qigong routine from Master Lam Kam Chuen’s book, Step-By-Step Tai Chi. While not as powerful as the one I learned from David Carradine’s book, it has been enjoyable and I feeling a lot better each day I practice.

In this routine alone, Master Lam has three levels with certain repetitions for each move. He never really specifies how much time is to be spent on each level, so I decided to focus on one level for at least a month. I got done with Level 1 and I am doing Level 2 now.

At this point, I am thinking of putting in a third practice session and with a different routine. This is a bit of a challenge since this session would be during my office hours and coworkers get antsy if I am not at my desk. This is especially the case when they would send me an instant message and I don’t respond instantly.

At the moment, I am thinking of following this office qigong video, this office Taiji video, or this seated qigong routine.

On a similar vein, I am also thinking of ways to incorporate more qigong training in other areas of my life. If you read the book “Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans for Physical Fitness“, which is about the 5BX and XBX programs, the author writes of incorporating more exercises in the day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. When walking up the stairs, walk up two steps at a time instead of one. When driving to the store, park as far away as possible so you can walk more. That sorta thing.

The same can go for qigong and even David Carradine writes that in his book. Master Lam Kam Chuen says the same thing in his videos. I asked my teacher-consultant about this and she even tells me this is the secret to improving one’s qigong skills.

Now the only question is what can I do?

Here are the two practices I came up with so far.

When I start my car, and before I drive, I will simply sit there with my spine erect and take 10 deep breaths. I usually do this when I am leaving for work, but it is something I want to do every time I am about to drive.

Whenever I am waiting in line or filling up the gas tank, stand in the wuji position and watch my breath. For those who don’t know, it’s like zhan zhuang except you keep your arms at your sides and not pretend you are holding a ball.

That is what I came up with so far. There will be more to follow.

My workout and qigong life, 2022年6月25日

As I wrote in this post sometime ago, I decided to go a more minimalist route to fitness. In summary: twice a day I do this short qigong routine from Lam Kam Chuen’s book Step-By-Step Tai Chi, then this 3 minute North Korean workout* twice a day, and this sitting stretch workout once a day. I also started a 30 day plank and wall-sit challenge so that I have the capacity to do a workout propagated by personal trainer Pete Cerqua.

Considering that I need to workout at least 150 minutes a week and that my daily workout won’t even reach that number, I am under no delusions that I will have an athletic body fit for the Olympics, the movies, or even the military.

That being said, I am glad that I take some time out of the day to exercise as little as I do. If anything, I am surprised how much I benefit I get from doing as much as I do.

The first obvious benefit is that I limber up my body. I won’t get as flexible as a yogi or yogini, but the 3 minutes I do the North Korean workout and 5 I do for the qigong routine gets my body warmed up enough for me to move and feel better. The ease in my movements somehow makes me feel more energetic.

The next benefit, and I don’t want to get into too much detail, is that waste elimination get easier. I would like to think that this is a sign that my organ functions are also improving as well.

The one surprise in my workout has to do with my past stress-induced injury on my left shoulder blade. Years ago, two coworkers decided to lash out at me and yelled at me for 30 minutes each. As I was trying to suppress my emotions, the muscles on my left shoulder-blade knotted up. For the longest time, I had no strength on my left arm. Later on, I regained some strength so that I could drive, type, and even pick up objects. However, at times the injury still acts up so that I would lose sensation on my arm and hands. Although I can do knee push-ups, I have a lot of difficulty doing more than 3 plank push-ups. You know, the classic push-ups we were taught in physical education classes.

One of the moves in the North Korean workout involves me whipping my arm out as I rotate my trunk. Thanks to that motion, the muscles on the shoulder-blade is starting to loosen. I do get a slight pain in that area, but I think it’s because the shoulder blade is healing. Nowadays I put a heating pad under that part of the body and I even feel my blood circulating.

Another surprise is that I do get that endorphin rush just by doing that North Korean routine alone. I used to think sweating should be involved, but this is not the case. There were times I had a bad day at work. When I do the routine, though, I feel immediately better. Feeling better after work does contribute to better sleep.

On the qigong front I can’t say any remarkable is happening. At the very least I get 5 minutes of relaxation. At the same time, though, I do feel good doing qigong so much that I want to do more. Last Sunday, I was wondering if I can do more Taiji . . . although I am holding that off for now since I know might be called to work more hours or help out with family stuff. I also have to remind myself that the benefits of qigong takes time as I am moving in a slower fashion. When I was practicing a qigong set from a David Carradine book, for example, I had to wait 30 days until I felt and saw any results.

Over my adult life, especially after university, I would have this pattern of being able to workout in an athletic manner then stop for some reason and then get myself back to working out and stop again. Inevitably, whenever I get back to working out after a long period I have to start from Square 1. All the progress I made from the last period of exercising goes out the window as I never did anything to improve upon or maintain whatever fitness level I was able to achieve. In fact, I even wrote about the time I did very poorly practicing both Taekwondo and Karate kata. At this point, I still want to workout like an athlete and I am hoping that the minimal workout I am doing is going to get me to start from Square 2 instead of Square 1.

At this moment, I am thinking of ways to improve my current fitness regimen with all the obstacles and restrictions that I have been facing. I might get myself to incorporate the qigong set I got from that David Carradine book. I might even use a Japanese form of qigong taught in the Kyokushin style of Karate. I might even see if I use this 5 minute isometric routine.

*In case you are wondering, I don’t condone the North Korean government nor the actions of the Kim family. I wish for reunification in the Korean peninsula or at the least reform in the country like that China experienced from Deng Xiaoping to Hu Jintao. My heart always go to the people of North Korea. Why do I do a workout from the DPRK? It’s because I can do this in my bedroom or in an apartment, otherwise I would prefer South Korea’s version.

Greatest Salesman Month 4 Report

I just finished Month 4 of the Greatest Salesman Course by Og Mandino. I am glad that I finished this month as quick as I did. Last “month” went on for 2 months to make up for the times I skipped/slept through the thrice daily readings.

For the most part, nothing really remarkable happened during this time. That was until I got a reply to a job application, which I wrote about here, and failed miserably, which I wrote about there.

Another interesting event was that I got a Facebook message from this head teacher in the last school I taught in Thailand. In her roundabout way, she was wondering if I can go back to teach at her school. That did make me happy as I liked the school, I liked the kids, and I also loved the teachers’ quarters. That time I didn’t live in an apartment, I lived in a one bedroom house!

I didn’t accept her offer, though. The head teacher likes me and loves how diligent I am in my work. Unfortunately, she loves my diligence so much that she made me do extra tasks. I had to help her out with administration work. I also had to play mediator between her and my rival, “Bosco”. I had to convey her orders to Bosco because he wouldn’t listen to her and he thought he was above school policy. Last, but not least, she metaphorically twisted my arm to stay after school to teach her and her coworkers’ children to improve their English. Why? Because she caught me studying Thai. If I didn’t study Thai, she would not have me work extra hours teaching the teachers’ kids.

While I had a couple of false starts on the job hunt, I like to think of these two incidences as signs that my life is changing and that I am going somewhere. Again, nothing is more frustrating than trying to make my resume have a nice format and craft a cover letter only to receive no reply when I send them both. Insofar, this gives me motivation to apply to more jobs.

I also wrote on this post that I am not going to work out like an athlete or a martial artist and stick to a more minimalist approach. I workout 3 minutes twice a day, do a 5 minute qigong routine twice a day, and a seated stretch workout at least once. So far, I am surprised how much my life improved. It’s not much, but a little goes a long way. I will write more of this in 7-10 days.

The main message of this month’s essay/scroll is “I am nature’s greatest miracle.”

Of course, nowadays this sounds a bit weird as people on the internet call each other a “special snowflake” as an insult. I have met too many people who are entitled narcissists and I can understand why this insult exists. At the same time, though, self-belief is something needed for one to strike out and find one’s fortunes. One has to believe that s/he has the potential to do well and s/he will be able to overcome any obstacles that s/he will encounter.

There is a lot to unpack here, so maybe I will write more on my thoughts of this later . . . .if possible.

Starting tomorrow, Month 5!


The picture above is Vishnu in his 4th avatar Narasimha. I like to refer to him as the Hindu Lion-Man for obvious reasons, although Lion-Man is not really an accurate term and I will explain why later. As a kid I liked the story. As an adult, I loved it more.

Here is the summary.

After years of penance and prayers, a god appeared before King Hiranyakashipu to grant the king a wish. The king wished that no human, animal, nor god can kill him and that he could not be killed on heaven or Earth to which the god complied. After getting his wish, the king then declared himself a god and that other ones will be worshiped but him. Everyone in the kingdom complied, except his son Prahlada (who I think is the real star of the story). Prahlada insists that his father is not a real god and that everyone is better off worshiping Vishnu and/or Shiva.

Due to his son’s disobedience, the king tried to kill his kid in many ways, including trying to burn him alive. Yet, despite all his attempts, Prahlada still lived. The king finally decided to confront his son and tried to get the kid to change his mind one last time. Prahlada told the king that there is no way the king can become a god since the gods are every where. The king then asked, “Is there a god in that pillar?” Prahlada said, “Yup.”

The king then broke the pillar and out came Narasimha. The Lion-Man destroyed the palace like a rock star gone wild. After that, Narasimha put the king on his lap and then tore the king apart with his nails and his fangs. Why did the king die despite his powers? Well Narasimha is not a god, animal, or human being—he is all three. The king was on Narasimha’s lap, so the king was not on heaven nor on Earth.

Here is a cartoon version in English. Here is the scene from a movie I watched as a kid depicting the Lion-Man wreaking havoc.

As a kid, I enjoyed this movie and story as much as anyone who enjoyed Godzilla destroying Tokyo. It was the climax of a somewhat preachy tale of staying true to one’s religion.

The only thought that comes to mind about this avatar is that this is a morality tale about arrogance.

Whatever gifts we have, whether they are developed by ourselves or given by a god, we should never abuse them in any which way we would like. If we use our talents to harm and put down other people, someday those gifts of ours will turn out to be a curse.

As a guy who has seen arrogant martial artists and spiritual masters, I am often reminded of this story and how arrogance sets oneself up for failure.

It is always a good thing to be humble.

This is the last workout program I will do . . .

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

. . . . until I move out.

Ever since the end of the 2020 lockdown, I have been struggling with keeping up an exercise program. It’s easy enough for me to start one, but it gets harder and harder for me to continue. Any workout program, from aerobics to zumba, does help in improving one’s fitness if and only if one does so constantly as a set regimen. One can workout 2 hours a day, three times a week One can workout everyday for 20-30 minutes.

That’s the problem, I always find myself not being able to keep up with the workouts whenever I start one. My latest obstacle is my sleeping pattern. I don’t wake up in time to exercise, nor can I get to sleep early enough. Like Dracula, by the time the birds sing and the sun rises is when I pass out.

The workouts I have been doing, such as the one derived from Walter Camp and the qigong set from one of David Carradine’s book, are great. Both of them are powerful in their own ways. However, I usually need an hour, whenever I wake up, to get my body ready to do both and they make make me sweat. Good if I do them both before I take a shower, but not good at night since I would need to shower and my family makes a big fuss if I do.

Two days ago I started this new workout program. It’s really really minimal and doesn’t take too much time. Plus, there’s hardly any sweating involved. Will this program improve my health? Not as much as I would like, but I am going to stick with this one until I move out. If I can’t stick with this one, then I am not going to exercise anymore until I get a better job.

Here are three parts to my workout program:

  1. Exercising like a North Korean

While I love martial arts, I have learning and studying these various home calisthenics routines propagated by various Asian governments. One of the most famous is the Radio Taiso series from Japan. One of my favorite routines is one from South Korea known as The Citizens’ Calisthenics aka “Gukmin Chaejo”. The problem I have with many of the routines is that they all involve some hopping and jumping, which is something I cannot do in my room. I do that and I get into trouble. Recently, I came across this routine released by the North Korean government. It is basically a rip-off of its southern neighbor, but is more apartment friendly. I was able to do this workout in room without any issue. I was also able to do this workout in my office and I hardly broke a sweat. Plus the entire routine is 3 minutes long. This is something I will do twice a day, before I shower and before I leave work.

  1. Qigong

For awhile I was doing this qigong set from a David Carradine book. However, I have been having a difficult time doing this set as well. In order to “maintain” my qi fitness, I would do this one set from a Lam Kam Chuen book. Lately, though, I have been doing Master Lam’s routine so much that I am basically going to stick with that one. It’s not as powerful as Carradine’s routine, but it gets the job done I can do this routine under 5 minutes. Again, this will be a routine I will do twice a day.

  1. Airplane Workout

I also need to get more flexible. The more flexible my body, easier it is for me to move. I do have resources for yoga and general stretching, but again time is a factor. There is even a great Korean stretching video that I recommend everyone to watch. However, it takes 12 minutes of time which I don’t have. More accurately, when I have the energy to do this stretch, I am too busy at work. When I have the time, I am too tired and trying to get myself to sleep so that I have more time tomorrow. Thankfully I came across this workout in Darebee. If you click on the link, you can see it is a sitting stretch workout which can be done in an airplane or even in an office. My plan is to do this everyday at least once a day.

So this is my current workout plan in which plan to stick with this for 100 days, In’shallah. If I do stick with this for 100 days and my life gets better, I hope I can let you all know about this so that you can improve yourselves.

Me-a Cope-ah

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

About a week ago, I was on Cloud 9 once I received an email from this company to take an aptitude test before I can get an interview. 3 days ago I took the test and failed really hard which bummed me about. Yesterday, though, I am feeling much better from the experience.

As you may or may not know, I am currently studying the Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino which requires reading a certain essay/scroll three times a day for 30 days before switching to the next scroll.

One of the passage that I read for my current scroll states this:

“I have been given eyes to see and a mind to think and now I know a great secret of life for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise. I will no longer be fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open. I will look beyond the cloth and I will not be deceived.”

I know that just because I failed in getting that dream job, I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself. I should learn from my mistakes and move on. If there are no mistakes for me to learn from, or if I can’t learn from them at all, I should move on anyways.

Here are some thoughts that come to mind:

Perhaps I dodged a bullet

As we all know about jobs, they will never advertise themselves as being horrible places to work or that everyone is miserable there. They all like to act like everyone is 110% satisfied there and that everything is hunky-dory. The thing is, of course, sometimes the most advertised workplaces are a nightmare and that some people don’t speak up out of fear for being fired or that NDA clause they signed in the contract.

I don’t know for certain if the job that rejected me is a horrible place to work, but there is that possibility. What if the company frowns upon having a life or hobby outside of work? What if talking about one’s own fitness goals or Youtube hustle gets that person in trouble? In my current job, there is a guy who believes that we are not allowed to think about anything but the job and our industry even if we are not on the clock. Thankfully, he’s not in charge or else my office would be a lot worse.

What if my competency of my work doesn’t matter and that the best way for me to get ahead is to schmooze (or sleep with) the boss? I have a friend with an MBA and a lot of experience worked his ass off at a company and expanded the business only to have a new guy get hired to become VP because that dude was the CEO’s college friend.

Plus, I don’t like wearing suits. Sure I might look handsome, but those things are uncomfortable. You would think with all these advances in fashion technology that someone can design a comfortable, but nice looking suit. But no, they have to be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I like things casual.

This also reminds me of 3 articles I have read from Reader’s Digest about Human Resource Officers and how judgmental and slimy there are. Some of them would try to skirt the law in order to deny someone a job or get someone fired. 1 article I read was on print, the other two are here and here.

I should still be appreciative at how far I got

Nothing is worse than sending a resume and not hearing from the job. If my resume shows that I don’t have the experience and education for a job, that’s one thing. Sometimes there are other superficial reasons. I was told that my resume looks too old-fashioned, but I have yet to find out how to make it all snazzy. No snazzy resume means no interview.

There is a phenomena in which people getting rejected for having a non-Anglo name, especially by people who have a stereotypical “Black sounding” one. I am not a Black guy, but I am Indian-American with a very Indian name. A couple times, I have had people tell me “Sorry, we cannot sponsor your visa.” Yes, I was born and raised in America but some people still see me as an immigrant.

While it’s easier for me to get a job teaching English in Asia, I also get rejected because of my skin color. As I am to post a photo of myself with my resume, I’ve had jobs in Asia tell me that I’m not qualified due to my brown skin.

I make these points because this time, I had a chance to prove myself (un)worthy of the job. Instead of my resume disappearing in the Internet ether, someone actually took the time to look at my CV and then gave a challenge.

Better to be proven unfit for a job than to be assumed as someone who can’t hack it.

The aptitude test did teach me something

As I went through the test, I came to realize how weak my math skills are. I know I can’t do math as well as I did in high school, but I never realized how much my math skills deteriorated since then. That’s why I bought a couple of math books and saved a few videos on my bookmarks to refresh and hopefully improve myself in that area.

Mathematics is a valuable skill. Even if I don’t get another job like the one I applied for, at the very least I can use my newfound math skills to improve other areas of life such as finance. If I am stuck in my current job, perhaps my newfound math skills could help me advance far enough that I might be comfortable staying in the same job.

Today I watched an old video of Scott Flansburg, aka The Human Calculator, who gives a lot of useful tips in doing basic arithmetic in large numbers by using one’s brain only. It’s quite a fascinating watch.

History’s greatest people were the biggest losers

A lot of people who achieved success did so after many failures. Abraham Lincoln lost many elections before finally becoming the President of the United States. George Washington is revered in the US as a great military leader, but he was quite mediocre when he was a British officer fighting the in the Seven Year’s War. Colonel Sanders had a long history of screwing up before starting his business of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

My favorite “failure” is Edgar Rice Burroughs. He got fired from every job he worked in and was so much of a failure that his wife left him with the kids to care for. He was basically at the end of his line. He then decided to write a novel which got published. After that, he spent his time writing other adventure and science fiction novels such as the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars series, both became very popular in the early 20th century. Speaking of which, I love the first three of the John Carter books. While he couldn’t expand on the Mars series except for a few comic strips, he made money expanding on the Tarzan series with comic strips, movies, and movie serials.

So the lesson that I must learn is to keep trying until I can’t try anymore. 

Once the weekend ends and I am done relaxing, I am going to start anew with my quest for better employment.