#2 – What We Need To Be Free From

In our second episode of the Great Deep Podcast Series we talk to some of our people and get their perspective on what they think people need to be free from, and look at elements of the song Free.

For those interested in reading the blog post with some additional thoughts, you can find it here.

Continue reading #2 – What We Need To Be Free From
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Rock month… done!

It is officially the end of Rock month. I’m not too fussed about the numbers and measurements… the most important thing is that my wife notices.

As I’ve said in a previous blog, I will continue on this programme for the remainder of winter and into spring – it’s helped enormously in terms of coping with a heavy work schedule.

However, the daily blog habit – while good as a discipline – will change into weekly online content production. In other words, quality over quantity.

I’d like to reflect on a few things this month, which I feel at liberty to share here in this blog post.

It’s not easy, but it’s possible

Before committing to this whole Rock month thing, I wanted to get my head in the game. The key thing for me personally was the discipline. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. No-one else. The reality is, we can live in a constant state of wondering what others think about us. For me, I had to come to grips with what I thought about myself. And that was the pivotal moment for me. It’s the one thing I could control: my own choices, my own decisions (what to eat, when, how much weight to lift, how far to run, etc).

It needs to mean something

John Ellis and I were talking over dinner this month about music actually meaning something. So branding and popularity aside, when there’s real hype for reasons beyond just those things – where a message or a person or a band carries weight not only because of their musicality, but because they’re saying something good and profound and novel as an whole entity. Think Nirvana. Think The Beatles. Think U2. Big ideas and big ideals.

For me, Rock month was about proving to myself certain things. That meant a lot, and became a real motivating factor whenever the alarm went off at 3.30am.

You become your habits

The Rock talks about his early morning workouts and pushing through the pain threshold as a metaphor and foundation for life. I agree with this. Getting training done early in the morning – especially this kind of uncomfortable, hard training – means that the rest of the day is a walk in the park by comparison.

A transition from boyhood to manhood

This could possibly be the discussion for another blog post, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my generation of guys recently. I’ve been thinking through the men and the boys. I’ve been thinking about the reasons that some of this generation simply haven’t transitioned from boyhood to manhood. I am convinced that the issue of self-discipline has to be one of the major contributing factors. That and, well, when you’re getting up this early for a whole month and training in these temperatures, it simply has to put hair on your chest!

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Life happens, but shoot for it anyway

You have all these grand plans, like committing to a hectic exercise and eating programme for a month like The Rock, and then life happens.

At 1am, our beloved labrador took it upon himself to bark incessantly at shadows for two whole hours. I had humour failure several times, shouting out the window at him. The result was that I am behind on sleep, which today wasn’t helpful. I worked a full 13-hour day after morning cardio and leg day. But I did it. Just saying.

So, on the second-to-last day of Rock month, I have been thinking about how to proceed with online content. I won’t be posting daily blogs, but rather working on weekly content which I think will be of more value. In other words, quality over quantity. So podcasts, behind-the-scenes vlogs and working on the songs themselves and the Great Deep show. (If you have any requests in this regard, post them in the comments section.)

In the words of Mel Gibson in The Patriot, “What did I teach you boys about shooting?”

Boys: “Aim small – miss small.”

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Booming and flat out in the last week of Rock month

Talking about working harder in the previous blog post, today was a blistering day. I am in the trenches of the busiest term for school, so I started off the day with a 5-minute per kilometre cardio and then shredded my pectorals as hard as I could for chest day. Clearly not hard enough, because I still had enough testosterone to argue with my wife and kids about being late as well hurtled out the door for work this morning at 6.45am.

Follow that with meetings, sports lessons, commandeering masses of little children, music lessons and more meetings.

I like the quote at the bottom of diary today: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky.

This evening was a chance to catch up on some animation which came about from the guitar workshop I did in the holidays through one of the ladies who signed up. Ntombi is in the wedding game and we’re now working together on advertising her business through my time-lapse animation medium. It was good to get doodling again, which reminded me that I still have storyboards and narration to record for the solo show.

Ah yes… at least it’s not boring!

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Four-week reflections

I suppose it would be a good time to reflect now that I have completed four straight weeks of Rock month. I have stuck to the diet, I have stuck to the exercise programme and I have managed (so far) to stay sane being a husband, a father and a workazoid. I have achieved a fair amount of physical activity as well as clocked a lot of milestones in work and in my private life, as well as with our different business ventures. I have three days of the month of July left before it’s over.

But this is not the end of the programme, just the beginning.

However, seeing as I am reflecting, I’ve revisited my first post on Patreon about why I should do this. One paragraph read:

That’s the other reason I’m doing this, is to see if I can work harder and stay more disciplined. No alcohol, no snacks – just this meal plan, exercises and a month of high productivity is the goal.

Patreon blog, July 1, 2019.

I think I have achieved this for the most part. If I’m honest, I think I am working harder than most people I know, on various levels. But it’s not as hard as I can work… and that’s why this is just the beginning of this third quarter of 2019.

Sunday: This morning I had to juggle a few things around and so rather than the usual run home from church, I clocked in an early morning run after last night’s cheat meals and tequila (thanks Leandra). I must just say that it was oh-so-pleasant to run in the morning sunlight. We then meandered to the morning church meeting and afterwards I went to get Tam’s phone screen fixed. This afternoon was a leisurely affair with our friends Eloff and Jeanette who we haven’t seen in a long time and who we really needed to braai with… so we duly did.

I am positive about the next two months. Towards the end of September, I will be on holiday and also I am turning 38. At that age, I’m not aiming for six packs and island holidays… far loftier: my goal is that I am more disciplined and focussed than I have ever been before. For me, there have been seasons in my life where I have achieved a monumental amount. I want to clock all that in this next period.

So… let’s go.

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No sleep-in, cooking and John Ellis

The highly anticipated sleep-in this morning, after four straight weeks of Rock month, was a let down. For one, our younger two kids were awake and highly wriggly before sunrise (why is it never on a school morning??) and for two – I am slowly realising that I am just not allowed to be selfish and expect to be left alone. Ever. (That’s a hard thing to come to terms with.)

Anyway, it took me a full hour but I soon distracted myself with the busyness of the day: we had two visitors to the costume hire business this today and I managed to cook and prepare my weekly quota of meals. I also managed to sort out a Lego storage for my son (I am building him a handy desk to build on) with these stackable plastic drawers and also sourced a reasonable quote on getting my wife’s phone fixed.

Later this afternoon I also cooked dinner and then Tam and I went out for dinner with our mate Paul to listen to John Ellis at Artisan… where the unparalleled Leandra was letting us in on the secret gems of her new Gelato ice cream. What a delightful evening it turned out to be, and we sat around catching up with John for ages. As a result, it is way past my bed time.

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Fourth Friday

Morning CardioAs stated, and evidenced on the right here, I duly sorted out the previous night’s eating offence bright and early today… okay, it wasn’t very bright because it was very early.

Thankfully there was no icy wind this morning, but it was still pretty fresh.

Followed this with the fourth Friday’s routine shoulder workout. Tammy asked me if I have been taking before-and-after photos of this progress… I told her as long as she noticed then my goals have been achieved. Besides, the goal of this whole Rock month thing was not to go through a physical transformation but rather a mental and one – discipline, discipline, discipline.

It seems to be paying off. I had a jam-packed morning of teaching (music and sport) and then a full afternoon of admin time.

Dinner was burgers. Man, I possibly overdid it but yeesh it was good… and then I ventured out to visit our growing youth group at church. What a treat that was! In a few years, my own kids will be in that age category.

The view tonight… which is also what most mornings look like.

It’s now 9.23pm, and tomorrow I can sleep in past 3.30am. Ah yes.

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Winning… most of the day

I have managed a couple of cold mornings, but this morning was without doubt the nastiest-icy-cold-howling wind of the entire month… the kind of wind that whistles numbness around your ears and rips through layers of fabric like shooting pins into your skin and is enough to make a grown man cry. I just keep telling myself I’m the hardest worker in the room as well as outside of the room too. Cardio: tick.

Back day. Dead lifts and pull ups and all sorts of things to get the lats going. I put effort into making sure form and effort were maxed. Workout: tick.

Music at St Charles JP – Grade 1 and 2 song practice and a Grade 3 choir practice, and big strides towards getting busy little boys to focus. Superhero powers: tick.

Maritzburg Prep sport matches – six-year-old boys playing Ridge in hockey and nine-year-old girls playing soccer at The Wykeham Collegiate. Mass strategic co-ordination, transport logistics, time management and execution of fun and learning. Swag: tick.

Then fetched my kids from school, picked up a Woolies coffee and chocolate for my wife. Brownie points: tick.

It was all going so well, the only question mark was supper: macaroni cheese and mince – which was not on the diet plan. I reasoned that seeing as I’m burning around 3500 calories per day, a “cheat meal” like this would suffice… but I shouldn’t have really. The only reason I shouldn’t have is because as I type this – I feel more sluggish. It’s amazing to note, and it’s a good lesson in the notion that biologically, “you are what you eat”, even if that is not completely true. Suffice to say, I will have to clock in an 8km run tomorrow as penance… which I actually don’t mind.