How You Living?

There’s some knotted up energy right now in the cosmos. I think it’s calling us to be aware and engage in further unknotting of the energies within us and all around us. That takes a little development of consciousness while the universe kindly points out where we’re currently stuck and can’t just walk away—we have to learn to undo the knots our bodies and life energies are tied up with.

It reminds me of one of StoryPeople’s old stories, called “Angels Of Mercy.”
“Most people don’t know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life.”

I fell ill in the night last night–my stomach issues, which left me a little wiped out this morning, but I’m starting to feel better—I listened to Russell Brand talking with Wim Hof and there is a certain irrepressible optimism in what Hof is saying that helped turn me around.

Hof challenges Brand to climb Kilimanjaro in the span of one day with him and the 32 other people Hof is leading up the mountain in the cold and scant air wearing only shorts, shoes, and hats—well, the women get to wear a bit more. And Brand asks him what kind of training and preparation is needed to go on this expedition and Hof says, I think you are ready now–the preparation and training is step by step–just one step at a time. And Brand laughs and recalls something Ekhardt Tolle says: “Even if you are spending the rest of your life in prison, you are not in prison for life in this moment.”

There is something so empowering about what Hof says. And this has always struck me as the most essential quality in any healer, their capacity to empower others to find their strength and resilience, to go against the grain of circumstance and find where you need to go next—what’s essential for your path, a path that gives you more life. Hof says this work he does is not crazy, but it’s outside the box. And it’s possible. And nowadays we need to think outside the box. Which is another way to speak of learning how to unknot yourself.

About 10-12 mins into the video with Brand, Hof goes into an excellent rant in his fierce Dutch voice, yelling:
Just recently when Australia was on fire
more than a billion animals died—
Nobody gives a shit—
when the Amazon was on fire—

Nobody gives a shit—
. . .
Some people say something,
but in general everything keeps on going . . .
sodomizing the planet,
polluting the planet,
exploiting it,
and people staying insensitive,
they stay like blobs.”  22mins.

Yes–you go, Wim! It feels like we all should be yelling and maybe we all are in one way or another; it’s so easy to have a sense that anything said, like, “Whoa, the emperor has no clothes!” falls on deaf ears while the weight of human folly grows and grows.

I keep thinking the tree pollen that I’m reacting to now has embedded in it the olfactory screaming of the trees that can’t take what we are doing to them, a life of dead soil, bad air, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and perhaps even deeper—a loss of any sense of their intact communities—while we plant them as mere ornaments to—or as instruments enabling—our ersatz life: trees as decorations in the toxic wastelands of our cities, captive and isolated in the terminal monoculture sinkholes of our urbane indifference, or as cloned plantations of our future toilet paper—so we think we alone are the essence of meaningful sentience . . . as if we can survive as the fittest alone on the top of an evolutionary peak without a web of trees and all our other relations—and still be fully human . . .

No wonder my body is uncomfortable with experiencing this tree pollen, but this perspective can only makes sense if I think trees are truly sentient. And everybody knows they cannot be.

We know humans have evolved past animals, but plants were never even in the running. All men know this comfortable truth, we can discount any life forms compared to human life, most preferably those humans of a certain color, gender, and economic status.

This video ends with an interactive demo of Wim Hof’s breathing. He and Russell Brand seem so into being who they are, taking such a fierce stand against the deadening inertia of habits and convention, I started getting better right away. I like to call Russell Brand, “Russell Firebrand,” but Wim Hof’s right up there, too. The droll Mr. Brand contrasted against that huffer-puffer, Mr. Hof, but they have a united front of a certain inconoclastic indominability.

Some background—I don’t know if you are familiar with Hof, but he’s a rather remarkable person. As his website says: “Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof got his nickname ‘The Iceman’ by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.”

Hof uses some simple cold, meditation, and breath practices as his foundation and he’s been teaching all sorts of people how to readily practice some of these. He says that our bodies need to have cold and other environmental conditions that we have to exert our strength to deal with. This keeps us from slipping into a comfortable reliance on an environment that never pushes us physically, just knots us up with endless mental stress. Both of these are debilitating; we can’t explore and discover what our capacities for either strength or repose actually are. Hof has surprised everyone not only by his capacity for extreme endurance events, but the fact he’s also taught a lot of others to do things similar to what he does.

(As someone who also has had immune system problems and fatigue, I want to say it’s equally important to listen to your body and truly rest when you need that. But I think in general most people are able to do this breathing and a short time of cold showering that Hof recommends. Even me, and I have cold urticaria and have had anaphylaxis from jumping in cold water!)

You can look at Hof’s website if you are curious to know more:

And here’s a song for the zeitgeist and the wake-up call? of this era we’ve been living through:

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