Meet Brant & Mark

“Fitness” needs a makeover. It’s not about the size of your muscles, how fast you can run, or how much you weigh. There are plenty of physically fit people who are unhappy, eternally pessimistic, and drained of spirit. True fitness starts with emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Finding Peace in Chaos

 Article by Brant Secunda

Often we find ourselves overwhelmed by the tasks at hand and in turn forget the beauty of this world, of life.  Sometimes shifting from a cluttered state of mind to one of clarity can seem impossible.  Maybe you try to take a walk or sit along the ocean, yet still the escape is only momentary.

I have found that at moments like this, it may take a dramatic short-term change in someones life in order to clear the mind and in this way heal the body and empower the soul. 

A retreat in nature can offer this change of lifestyle and change of mindset.  Throughout the many years I have lead retreats at places of power around the world, I have witnessed this transformation in participants over and over again.  People arrive drained and lethargic in spirit.  For the first few days most people are trying to analyze what they have gotten themselves into.  “Do I like this retreat?”  “Am I learning anything?”  And most importantly, “...how is the food.”  Then, as they begin to connect with the spirit of the land, their analytical minds calm and they begin to be aware of not just the overwhelming beauty of nature, but of the beauty of each leaf, every river and all the flowers.  When we are able to practice this awareness and see the energy flowing around us, then it becomes very difficult to worry about that work presentation due next week or cooking dinner for friends this weekend.  If we can remember the power of the world around us, we can face every obstacle, big and small, with a sense of self-confidence.  This confidence arrises from the realization that we are a part of something much larger then our selves; that we can utilize the energy of the trees, waters and flowers.  In this state of mind it is very difficult to become overwhelmed... ...at least in the negative sense.

So if you are finding yourself constantly stressed and cluttered, it may be a good time to step away from your routine and head to a place to which you feel drawn.  Wether that be joining me here in Italy or going camping or renting a place at the beach, create a change in your life that will help you focus on the bigger picture.

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Today, Brant is high in the Italian Alps, teaching his annual spring retreat.  Mark is there as well, participating in the retreat, as he does every year.  View a photo gallery of last year’s retreat or read his article from last year.

To learn more about retreats with Brant Secunda or to register for next year’s Retreat in the Italian Alps, visit DanceoftheDeer.com

Evolving Goals


Article by Mark Allen

Regardless of whether you are pursuing a fitness goal, striving to achieve something at work, trying to change home life dynamics to be positive or are on a spiritual quest to better yourself, a common thread that can support your journey is having a clear picture of why the efforts have meaning to you. This is what we call in our book “Know and Set Your Quest.”

There is always a picture, feeling, thought or indefinable energy that draws you to take action. The positive form of this is an idea of something that you have yet to embody. Perhaps it is a physical change. “I want to lose weight. I want to complete a race.” It may be emotional. “I want to find something positive even in the toughest moments of my life.” Perhaps it is spiritual in nature. “I am going to take time each and every day to stop and feel the springtime unfolding.”  Whatever it was that inspired you to take the first steps toward a goal, remember it. If you cannot recall those initial thoughts or if the original idea doesn’t have meaning, now is a good time to regain an image that does.
 
Here is an example from my racing career of an evolving goal. Initially my overall driving quest was to win the Ironman. It was a clear goal. Yet it was complex because of the number of valuable facets of preparation that could help me achieve it. But it was worth embracing as many of them as I could. This goal influenced every aspect of my training throughout each season. And indeed in 1989 through the incredibly good luck to connect with the Huichol tradition and Brant Secunda I became that champion.
 
But then what? Win again? Okay, that inspired me, and I achieved that…a couple more times.
 
But then what? By 1993 I could see that my quest had to change. “Knowing and Setting Your Quest” is a call to look deep inside and find the picture, thought or focus that has meaning deep in your heart. A good way to gain this perspective is to place yourself at the end of your life and take a look back. What do you want to see? What reasons do you want to see that inspired meaning to do the things that you did? 



I saw that “winning” was great, but not really quite the right focus. The quest changed. Through personal reflection and with Brant’s help I dedicated my quest in racing from that point forward to the pursuit of being the best I could be on race day. The placing was secondary. This was Knowing My Quest. It’s a quest that continues today and transcends time, situation or circumstance. 

What is your quest? What inspires you about your efforts? 

What is it about your quests that focus your efforts in a positive direction? These are the things that will carry you far.
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