The Specifics: Physical

The physicality of men is somewhat discouraged in culture today, at least the traditional ideals of physicality (fighting, fucking, and forging our way).  And, if you really draw the comparison between what I propose (living life today along the lines of the codes of Norse culture) and what the Vikings actually did (including (but not limited to) raping, pillaging, and enslaving), you may hate this ideal even more.  But that is definitely NOT the style of life I am proposing.  The Vikings weren’t perfect, and I won’t, obviously, allow those more evilpractices to occur in my own life. But the Vikings had some good ideas, and THOSE are what I hope to help shine the light on, and utilize those ideas and values to make my own life, and the lives of others, BETTER.

 

I believe that a good man, is also a dangerous man, but a dangerous man under control.  To be such a man, physicality is required.  And that is why it is a cornerstone I will make a primary focus of my life.

 

So where do I lack in physical areas of my life currently?

 When it comes to PHYSICAL EXERCISE, I don’t do near enough of it.  And I am not referring to physical exercise, merely for aesthetic purposes.  I’m talking lifting heavy weights, cracking through wood with an axe, going toe to toe with another man to see who is the stronger and more cunning specimen, etc.  These are all areas that build a competitive spirit, encourage a better attitude, and teach you that you are or are not fragile.  
 Physical Action is another area of physicality that alludes me, and most other men, as well.  I’m not thinking about exercise, but instead, more about using your body to complete tasks.  When was the last time that the sweat of your brow and the flex of your muscles, led to an improvement in your life or the life of others?  Changing your brakes on your car, or fixing the shower door, working with your hands and your legs to fix a problem.  THAT is the kind of physical action that so many men lack these days.  We will order food from a delivery app, instead of fixing our own form of sustenance.
 Physical presence, is a completely different animal than either exercise or action.  When I refer to presence, I mean being there with your family, present and accounted for.  Looking people in the eyes when you meet them.  Providing an aura of capability, to help calm and assure others.  Showing up to help a brother move, or going on an adventure in the backwoods with your pals.  We all live in segmented worlds these days, increasingly digital-centric, and we are losing an advantage that is communing with others through physical connection.  

I encourage you all to become more physical in your daily life.  I will be following up on these in the very near future, providing evidence of improvement, and also, a challenge to rise up and meet.  But for now, let me know what areas of physicality are you currently lacking?  Where do you excel?  And how did you come to a point where you excelled?

Sharing our stories, learning together, that is what being a Dad Level Viking is about.

Skol!

DLV, The Specifics:  What Are They?

Understanding life, for a man in today’s world, is like a blind person trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle.  They may be able to complete the puzzle eventually, but they will most likely NEVER see the whole picture.

Most men today are happy enough to leave gaps in the finished puzzle.  Holes that they fill with distractions and trivialities.  They are happy enough to kind of get an idea of the total picture, through context clues and imagination, and look past the gaps, because that is what is easiest.  They make a deal to see only part of the vision, in exchange for easy work.

A Dad Level Viking is NONE of these things.  He FEELS none of these things.

A DLV member realizes that to see the whole picture, you have to go on the hunt.  You have to learn.  You have to search.  You have to have grit.  He uses tools to aid in his pursuit of completion.

Now… some of these tools are up for debate.  And as I said previously, I don’t know them all myself….yet.  But really, that is a lie.  I know what they are.  YOU, dear reader, know what they are. I just can’t properly name them… yet.

I recognize that naming the tools needed to be the best possible man that we can be, is a pursuit.  A hunt.  A trek.

And I am ready to go on that trek.

Valknut Symbol

First of all, when I look at my life, and where I feel a fundamental lacking that would benefit myself, my family, and my brothers on this trek, I think of physicality.

  • Physical EXERCISE that makes us better prepared to handle any challenge or pursuit which comes our way.
  • Physical ACTION that involves using our bodies for the betterment of ourselves through work. Maybe that action is manual labor.  Maybe it is artistic endeavors of wood working or sculpting.  Maybe it is being out in nature and improving your abilities in one form of another.
  • Physical PRESENCE. Simply being there.  Imposing when required, and comforting when needed, but being present in the lives of those who matter to you.

Secondly, mental development is an area that I feel everyone should pursue.  Education, fortitude, and enlightenment are all ways for us to strengthen our own mental states.  We must be open to new things, questioning of old things, and clear on all things.  Be wary of distractions, platitudes, and trivialities in this life, for they all dull the mind and weaken your resolve.

A DLV member’s mind should be sharp.  To sharpen a mind, it requires friction.  Going against the grain and what is comfortable, so as to further hone that which we depend upon when tough decisions are needed to be made.

  • We must treat EDUCATION as a never-ending pursuit or service. We may take a recess at times, but we shall never leave the halls of education, until we move onto the next plane and have all new opportunities for growth and expansion of our minds (metaphysically or other methodologies).  We must learn, and also teach, to reach Dad Level Viking status.
  • Putting into action, that which we learn, is also a non-negotiable for a DLV. Any good theorem must also have a test, and a result.  Reading 10,000 books is a waste of time if it leads to zero seconds of practical improvement and growth.
  • Sustainability and self-sufficiency of a man requires skills. All abstract learning is beneficial, but specific pursuit of knowledge is fundamental.  If you take not the time to learn and practice skills, you learn nothing that can be traded, bartered, employed or exchanged for value.  Know your value, prove your value, and EARN your value.

And finally, I would like to touch on spirituality.

I’m not particularly religious, nor am I anti-religion.  Even though the name Dad Level Viking suggests paganism, at least as described by more popular religions, I do not promote nor abhor the religious beliefs of the Vikings.  I like some of their idea, but the same can be said for many formal religions.

However, when I refer to spirituality, I refer more to a man’s self-made spiritual beliefs.  What sets him at ease, and puts him in commune with the powers around us on a daily basis.  When I think of spirituality, I think of a practice or set of beliefs that helps us to make sense of the world.  Some of us believe in invisible deities.  Others think of philosophy as a spiritual tool.  Whatever it is for you that helps you make sense of this giant universe, that is the spirituality of a Dad Level Viking.

  • We must use our spirituality to help center our mind, and calm our emotions. Let the guiding principles, as you see fit, help reassure you in times of doubt and uncertainty.  Use that reassurance to make logical decisions in your everyday life.
  • There are a million different potential sources of spirituality. If it is Christianity for you, great.  If it is Stoicism, that’s great to.  But whatever it may be, keep an OPEN MIND.  Listen to the little voices of this world and existence, and do not cower behind dogmatic rules.  Learn from all, use the best options that suit YOU.  Be not a clone.
  • Practice makes perfect, and that goes for spirituality as well. I’ve never surfed a day in my life, but people who love surfing, would probably describe it as a spiritual experience.  But if you don’t practice at surfing, you aren’t getting the full experience, therefore, robbing you of the maximum spirituality of the method.  If prayer is your spirituality, practice it daily.  Make it more than common.  Make it a skill, a pursuit, a way to rise above.  Same goes for whatever it is that brings you spiritual growth.  No judgements here.

I know that this post was a bit long-winded, but I will be breaking down each of the three areas of what I want DLV to focus on, in the coming days.  These may be the final 3 areas of focus.  Maybe not.  But I will continue to search for the next horizon, in calm or stormy seas.  And I will reach shore, to explore new worlds.

Skol!

Birthday: 2019

My father passed away on the 10th of this month.  But that isn’t what this post is about.  Maybe I will write about his passing, and what it means, when I am capable of properly articulating what I want to say.  What I need to say.  What I need to have heard.

Instead, I want to talk about my birthday.  October 22nd, 2019, I turned 41 years old.  Currently, I am 41 years old, plus one week.  Over the hill.  On the downward slide.  An old fucker.

Well, maybe not the last one.

As with any birthday, I am inclined to look back on the last year.  The last life.  What I did that I wish I wouldn’t have.  What I didn’t do, that I wish I had.

After Action Reviews.  Introspections.  Recollections.

Regrets.

Scandinavian Fjord

As I sit here and take stock of my life, I realize that I tend to focus too much time and energy on what I should or should not have done in the past.  I am definitely my own worst critic (minus my father, perhaps) and fail to give as much credit to myself as I should.

Being a Dad is hard.  Being a good Dad is even harder. But, reaching Dad Level Viking status, should be the easiest.  Because to be a DLV member, you have to be passionate about improvement.  You need to be passionate about the pursuit of being a better father.  Not just a father that ticks the boxes for society’s taste, but a father who desires to instill in their children the more noble qualities of what we know about the Vikings (and more specifically, Norse culture) of over a millennium ago.  Virtues like loyalty.  Bravery.  Tenacity.

Aside from what we hope to teach our children, to be a DLV, you need to make sure that every area of your life follows the Viking principles, and more.  Not everyone is a Dad.  But everyone who is, or wants to be, needs to take care of themselves and their partners, as well as their children.  There is more work to being a DLV than just attending baseball practice.

I guess what I am getting at, is that this whole Dad Level Viking ideal is a pursuit of being the best that we can possibly be, in keeping with the ideals and cultural norms of the Norse age.  It’s a process.  A process I don’t exactly have figured out.

But a process I am willing to work at, and refine.

In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, I will share a more precise vision of what I see that can be helpful to men of this age, and by correlation, the world and all of its people. I invite you to discuss, consider, and live the focusing standards that I will unveil, and debate if necessary (as long as it is done so cordially, and intelligently).

I hope you all come along with me for this journey toward being a better person.  A better Dad.  A better husband.  A better man.

Skol!

 

P.S.  Even if you are not a Dad yet, I encourage you to participate.  Being a good Dad, will never be a final achievement.  You will need to work on it, every day of your life.  And that work that you put in, will benefit you as a man.  As a partner.  As a friend.  Regardless of current fatherhood status.

So, if you are not yet a Dad, consider this an opportunity to get a head start.  Learn from others.  Do the work now, so you can reap the rewards later.  You won’t be disappointed.

Sea Level

Day 1 of the challenge is here.  The day of reckoning has arrived.  Do you go through with it?  Put every bit of your strength and being into the pursuit of positive change in your life?

For me, the answer is yes.

Imagine that the ocean is the turbulence of your life lived recently, or so far.  Deep, dark, constantly moving, with little sense of direction.

Day 1 is stepping out of the oblivion of upheaval, and onto the firm shores of terra firma.  It’s making our first voyage into a positive net of altitude.  We base all heights on Earth on their relative positioning to that of the sea.  Why is that?

Bay of Bengal

Because the sea is what we escaped.  It is the biggest thing on this world.  It controls our lives and can wreck them without a care.

We trek to the sea for enjoyment, relaxation, grounding.  Because the sea is what we escaped.  And is what we can return to if we are not careful.  And we know that.  Going to the beach is a reminder of how far we have come, and how far back we could fall.

My habits for this challenge are as follows:

  1.  4:30 A.M. Wake-Up. Every Day.
    • If I don’t do a 4:30 wake-up, I am less likely to do the work required of myself to get better.  I need that extra time.  I will balance it with appropriate sleep, wherever possible.  But even if sleep comes late, a 4:30 wake-up will still be required.
    • My proof:  A screen grab every morning when I wake up, with time and date from my phone.
  2.  5 Miles Rucked.  Every Day.
    • The most healthy I have been in the last 10 years of my life, was when I walked home from work every afternoon.  It was 5 KMs.  But we are in America now, so I am going with miles.  Time to get back to healthy.
    • My proof:  A screen grab from MapMyRun or other app used to track distances covered.  I may have to make it up through a few different journeys each day, but the total will be 5 miles or more.
  3.  50 Push-Ups.  Every Day.
    • It doesn’t matter if I do 50 consecutive push-ups, or if I do them 5 at a time.  My goal here is to recover my strength and build the discipline of exerting myself every day, even when I can’t make it to the gym.
    • My proof:  I don’t really know how to “prove” this.  It will have to be on the honor system.
  4.  Drawing.  Every Day.
    • If I had a certain skill that I would like to improve most, it would be my ability to create art, both for purpose, and for a stress relief.  My goal is to take this time for myself to focus only on the art.  Take that break from overthinking.  Hone my skills.  Get better.  Get productive.  And maybe, profitable?  We will see.
    • My proof:  I will show something I have drawn every day, even if it is unfinished or not up to my standards I hold for myself.  This goal is about getting better.
  5.  Journaling.  Every Day.
    • To be introspective, is to know yourself.  Learn your own quirks.  Get stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I will use this habit to examine my own missteps, define my passions, and build toward a better understanding of myself, and where I need to grow.
    • My proof:  I will share something from my journal every day.  A thought or discovery or question based on my own introspection.  The journal will be personal, so I won’t photograph what it is I write about.  Perhaps these posts here on my blog can serve as proof?

The temptation with this challenge is to throw in 23 different things to do.  But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I won’t build habit in one day, especially when my focus is too scattered.  With that in mind, I have held to only 5 habits to hit on my list of must-do actions.

What are your own habits?  What are your struggles?  What is your why?

Calm Before The Life Changing Storm

08312019_Calm Before The Storm

The calm before the storm.

The day before a change.

Tomorrow begins a long slog upwards toward the summit of what I can achieve.  A journey of improvement.  A pinnacle of self-reliance.

I don’t know why I am so sure that “this time is different”.  Why I have failed in other attempts to get on the right path, and failed…quit…gave up.

There is a certain steeleyness in me now, is all I can say.  As if I have glimpsed the downward slide into oblivion, this world of inadequacy and failure and self-loathing, and know that it isn’t for me.

There are other worlds than this.  And I aim to explore every one.

Tomorrow, we climb upwards.

Forever.

Join us.

September Challenge – Habit Forming

“Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” – Jocko Willink, from the book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win”, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Image may contain: one or more people, text and nature

Do you consider yourself a leader in your own life?

I do, sometimes. Other times, I feel a little aimless. Floating. Coasting. Wasting.

When I do feel like I am leading my own life, I feel charged up. Amped. Unstoppable. The feeling is a good one. So why can’t I sustain it?

Habit, is the simple answer. Lack of good habits, or an abundance of negative habits, both play apart in why sustaining excellence can be extremely difficult. We have all tried to implement good habits or break bad ones in our own life.

  • January 1st, go to the gym. 
  • Every birthday, stop smoking. 
  • Each crummy day at work, start learning new skills. 

We typically start these habits off with a bang, but end up with a whimper. Why is that? Why, even though we recognize the value of the habit, we still fail to do the work needed to make these goals a HABIT?

James Clear, famed author of the book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” utilizes the 21/90 rule. This rule states that if you commit to anything for 21 consecutive days, doing it with purpose, you WILL create a new habit. Continue that habit for 90 days, and you have implemented a permanent lifestyle change.

A habit, much like climbing a mountain, is most successful when taken ONE STEP At A TIME. That’s why I am calling our Dad Level: Viking September Challenge, the Summit in September.

The goal is to choose a habit that will add value to your life, and implement it EVERY DAY in September, from the 1st until the 30th. The 30th will be Summit Day, and it will be the point where we look at where we are, and back to where we came from, and decide if we have created that new habit. If it is valuable, I recommend that everyone keeps going, all the way to the next summit. Until that habit has become an integral part of our daily life. Until we no longer lament the inability to make lasting, positive change. But instead, get excited for the next challenge to conquer.

Join us over in the Dad Level: Viking Facebook group to keep up with the challenge and learn from other men who are doing what needs to be done to become better.

Stop blaming and start doing.  Get some.

Week 1 Results – The Fruit of No Fruit

Week 1 for my weight loss challenge was a success. 8.6 lbs lost in week 1. I had a lot of good wins, a few good losses, and a refined idea of how I will improve in Week 2.

What are you guys doing to get better this week?

I cut wa back on carbs, for one, but other than that, I really didn’t do anything too hard core.  I just counted my calories, and made sure that even if I did have a small cup of cie cream, I was still below my self-imposed daily limit.

Week 1 = 7 Days, 7 Wins (100% stuck to my goal)

I had some good improvements, and some not so good actions.

Week 0 vs Week 1_Results
Week 1 AAR
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Starting Weight: 337.0 lbs
Week 1 End Weight: 328.4 lbs
Week 1 Weight Loss: 8.6 lbs
Total Calories Allowed: 15,190
Total Calories Consumed: 12,352
Calories Below Limit: 2,838
Calories Burned By Exercise: 89
Calories For Maintenance (3,170 per day): 22,190
Calories Below Maintenance: 9,538
Week 2 Daily Calories Limit: 2,084
*
What did I get done this week?
* I lost 8.6 lbs, which is 2.55% of my starting weight.
*
What didn’t I get done this week?
* I was aiming for 10 lbs. I thought I was on track, but didn’t quite make it.
*
What did I do well?
* I hit my challenge goal of staying below 2,170 daily calories, 7 days in a row. That was a 100% success.
*
What didn’t I do well?
* I didn’t eat very clean. While I stayed below calorie levels, some of that food was definitely not something that someone who is aiming for fat loss, SHOULD be eating.
* I did not get nearly enough exercise in.
*
What will I do better this week?
* I will eat more clean, adding more vegetables and fruits, while paying more attention to my macros (especially protein intake).
* I will start a weight training program this week, and return to rowing. I will also aim to get a minimum of 15 miles per week in from rucking.