The Man In The Arena.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt.

April 23, 1910.

Remembrance Day 2021: Commemorative Address

Remembrance Day 2021 : Commemorative Address.

Once again, it is my respected pleasure to stand in front of you, and to see so many friends & family, and other members of the congregation gather together to mark this important day.

The past two years have seen the world turned upside down, in a way that was unimaginable to us all, before it ever happened.

So many have lost loved ones, friends, colleagues, or even someone they barely knew, to this pandemic. People who should not have died, have died, but also many of those who were not expected to be able to play the odds, have by the grace of God been able to fight it & come through it as survivors. Those lucky ones.

And so, you may wonder, why I am here, today talking about the Coronavirus Pandemic, when we should be focusing on our Soldiers of War.

When I was first thinking of what I might say in front of today, two things jumped out at me very clearly.
The first was that I had to recognise the vast frontline medical teams & services, and all the related personnel, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, and still do; in order for each & every patient to receive the very best medical care possible. And as has been with so many wars, not an insignificant number have perished themselves, in the line of duty, all the while having forsaken their own health, safety & comfort in order to serve.

And so, to all of those fantastic, exceptional, selfless & giving medical personnel, we salute you !
Many of you may recall that I once was a broken soldier, who was quite literally put back together through the tireless hard work, dedication & medical skill & expertise bestowed upon me over 31 months, following a brutal assault, which left me in a coma, and on a life support machine for several weeks. So to me, this is as personal as it gets.

The second was to give you some insight & perspective of scale.

No one can argue that the Coronavirus pandemic has not only changed the face of the world which lies in front of us today, but that it has also derailed so many things, and affected so many people in so many ways.
I know of at least two people who have committed suicide during this time, unable to cope with the deep, dark, endless depression that had enveloped them during the Lockdown. And as someone who himself suffered debilitating depression & despair, after I was medically discharged from the Army, I can only too clearly recall how destitute & fearful I had felt.
These two young men, were fitness professionals like myself. Young, strong, healthy, fit men, who have been cut in the prime of their lives, because they could no longer do what made them who they thought they were.

And so, to me, these two young men I knew, drew parallels, to all the War Veterans, who return home, to nothing. Who have to rebuild their lives, from the bottom up, much like I did, in order to make a new life, in a new world & to find a new way of living in it.

And the second thing I realised was, that this pandemic, which has so royally derailed the entire world, has taken a worldwide death toll of around 5,047,652 (five million, forty-seven thousand, six hundred & fifty-two) as at 7th November 2021, according to the World Health Organisation.
Yet remarkably, over 227 million people have also recovered from COVID-19 globally.

Now let me ask you to think, that across the First & Second World Wars, 60 million people died. Yes, that’s right, 60 million people. That is nearly twelve (12) times more than the Coronavirus, has killed to date. And that’s not even allowing for the inflation of the global population increase…

Or let me put it another way, the two world wars saw 3% of the entire world population wiped out.

Coronavirus so far has seen around 0.0006%. (zero point zero zero zero six percent)

And so, is it now as difficult for us to imagine what service the British Armed Forces give to us, for us to be able to have the freedoms & liberties that you & I enjoy.
Of the horrors and devastation, these British Armed Forces put upon their families & friends & what they live through too themselves. Of the vast ocean of suffering & loss, they endure, and embrace as a consequence of giving us, Great Britain, their service, so that we can sleep better each night.

So, as I look out across all of you, please know that there is a donation pot, and at the end of this, and will be asking you to dig deep, and show how much you support them too, by giving as generously as you can, to the British Legion, so that it can continue to provide financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and their dependants.

But before I do that, I would like to read this out to you :

If I stood by the tomb of the unknown soldier,
I would say , “sleep well today!”
All the nations on earth this sacred hour
Deep Honor to you will pay.

We know not who you are or how.
You went to meet deaths hour;
But we know you did not pale or falter,
We know you did not cower,

Here in your solitary grandeur
You sleep this Memorial Day.
You will not hear the eurologies
The words of praise we say.

But the deepest Honor a man can have.
Is yours eternally.
Not for conquest, but for principle.
To your death you crossed the sea.

Sleep well, o, unknown soldier
Nations kneel at your feet.
Under November’s cold dark skies.
May your slumber be long and sweet.

The Unknown Soldier, by Lenore Hetrick

Why Pushing Harder Makes You Feel Good.

Last weekend myself and Jessica were able to have a socially distanced BBQ with our family. It was amazing and because I had been keeping up my training in these trying circumstances, I was able to afford myself a little freedom in the foods that I chose, it included ice cream!

I am able to run around 5 miles most days and even though the sunshine is lovely, it does put a stress on the body (so make sure there is lots of water)

I do feel sore and I am not sure it is because it is because the frequency of my cardio training has increased, but I am beginning to enjoy it. Cardio! Yes, I know.

When you pour yourself into something, and are completely present. You are completely focused, and you aren’t running to distractions and discomforts. You have to take on the difficulty, slight struggle, and stress. So you just accept it, do it without complaining and looking for an easy exit.

How can we create that attitude in our daily lives?

You sit down afterward, your muscles are aching, you feel like your guts are going to explode.
When you have finished, you can look back, even at the end of a hard working day, knowing that you gave your best, doing something worthwhile.

How do we create that satisfaction and that feeling accomplishment in our lives?

When you know that resting is also important, that means good sleep and nutrition.
Fully appreciate the well oiled machine that you have.
Knowing that recovery is just as important for growth.
Knowing that you deserve some rest too.

So how do we create that feeling of recovery and relaxation in our everyday lives?

There is joy in training hard, working hard.
But this can be a lesson in our everyday lives.

Let’s create the same feeling of accomplishment on both sides of the coin, every single day.

Feeling Comfortable During the Day.

When I first started doing video training sessions with clients, or even my first virtual podcast.
I had that feeling of was my communication coming across well? Can I see everything that the client needed? How am I presenting myself on camera?
I was confident that I was performing to a high standard but I still had that feeling of being uncomfortable.

But then I was reading something from Mel Robbins and it was the 5 second rule. So, I did just that, I sat back, counted 5 seconds and just got on with it, and very shortly, I felt much more comfortable..

This practice helped a lot, because even though I was still at home, I suddenly felt much better and was moving through the day with much more easily..

It’s quite a simple idea: instead of having an uptight attitude about what you are doing, you can set yourself up to being more relaxed.

You can try it now… count for 5 seconds, take those breaths and sit back with ease. Come to a place where you feel relaxed and open.
It might take some practice, but most of us are holding some kind of stress that is causing tension most of the time.

If we can get to a place where we feel relaxed, not aggravated, then the things that we are doing doing during the day can be more restful, we can also finish feeling more refreshed.

So, if you’re talking to someone on a video call for an hour, it will be more of a vibrant time with that person.

Have you got lots of tasks to do? Don’t worry, just take each one with deliberate attention, while having a calming attitude towards the task.

Do just one thing at a time. Give the task your full attention, and if it’s a conversation make sure your listening to that person(s).
An easy calming attitude as you move through it.

Something else that helps me is that when I go outside just to walk or do my cardio, I like to take in everything around me. I have lots of thoughts at times, but when I am outside and feel the sun on my skin, I just take a deep breath… and then think about all the people that I am trying to help, I know that I care. Feeling nourished by everything around us, even the just the little mundane things… help us feel not so unmotivated about the things that we do.

Feeling grateful to be alive helps also.

How would you feel when you start moving through the day more comfortably?
Give it a try.