It’s How We Remember

In just a few minutes, literally, my house will be filled with people. If you weren’t invited, don’t be angry, we are doing our first Practice Thanksgiving in Utah since we returned. Our house can fit five comfortably and we have twenty plus people invited tonight. “God Bless Us All” as my mom would say.

Shopping for the event, I saw the book “Catch 22” on the give away table. Gary, my brother, and disabled Vietnam Vet took me to the film (and MASH that year, too, as I recall) and I have been a fan ever since. I had just left church and “Theology on Tap” where a group of us each a sandwich and enjoy beer or wine each week after Mass when I saw the book.

Tomorrow morning, I will be attending church again to remember some friends who died a year ago on this date. Last August 2, I received a nice email from one of the guys who died thanking me for a gift box sent by Laree Draper. He promised that he would “dig deeply” into my instructions on the Get Up DVD to cure his ailing back. The week before, he emailed me to let him know that he and his friends were praying for my successful hip replacement.

Our last conversation included this insight:
I agree with you that many misunderstand the need for reflection in the warrior spirit. I would go further, based upon my experience over the past ten years, and say that many, many have forgotten the need for reflection in the warrior spirit. Musashi Miyamoto, Japan’s “Sword Saint” and the undefeated victor of over 60 duels to the death, said that the warrior should practice painting and poetry as well as the sword. His work, “The Book of Five Rings” is the deepest and yet most succinct treatise on the warrior spirit I have ever read. The warrior monks of the medieval orders such as the Knights Templar prayed and fasted regularly. But that tradition has been forgotten Reading, prayer, and meditation have been replaced with video games, alcohol (not that that wasn’t a part of things back in the day!) and surfing the internet.
Here’s one for discussion, one for Dan John the competitive athlete + philosopher: I think we would both agree that the contemplative path is superior for preparing one for intense effort and circumstances, yet it is a frustrating reality that I have encountered that good preparation and healthy living can still fall short when pitted against raw talent. There are guys who can drink, carouse and fill their bodies, minds and hearts with garbage; and then roll out of bed and beat the pants off of us less gifted mortals. They seem to naturally have an ability to let it all go, completely unleash, that I have been striving to unlock in myself all my life..

I never had the chance to answer this, of course. So, I have spent the last year writing. “Easy Strength” is dedicated to him and my next book, Intervention, is dedicated to another friend who died this day. Years ago, the guy I am dedicating “Intervention” to told me that when he saw my picture (the cover of “Never Let Go”), he told himself that “if this guy can train in these conditions, I need to quit complaining about how bad I have it.” I never told him that this was my backyard and my hot tub was withing throwing distance. Not long ago, I sat with his widow and we both agreed that dedicating Intervention to him is the right thing to do.

I never had the chance to answer the question about the “need for reflection in the warrior spirit.” I never got to sit down and tell him about how I have answered how we can follow the lead of the Knights Templar who “prayed and fasted regularly.”

But, I can tell you. And, I discuss with my brother, Gary. But, I can’t talk to the guys who inspired the questions.

And, that is my personal Catch-22.

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