Archive for the 'Marriage' Category

Does Anyone Have a ROM?

https://i2.wp.com/sswhsle.com/ROM/002_Front.jpgNo, not ROM Spaceknight, you comics aficionado sillies; ROM as in the über-high-end 4-minute workout machine that just screams Range of Motion (hence the acronym). I found out about it one night whilst venturing into the back pages of my Atlantic Monthly, something I rarely do for fear of being pelted by the conclusions of articles that have already taxed my ADD-addled attention span to the limits, arranged between ads for the Belgian Waffle Pro and custom-crafted leather bookbinding. I know, it’s what I get for subscribing to The Atlantic (and Harpers, and Mother Jones, and other magazines that make me what my friend Gareth calls ‘a certified member of the liberal white guilt intelligentsia’).

So anyway. I was flipping through the mag when I came across this ad, headlined in all caps EXERCISE IN EXACTLY 4 MINUTES PER DAY. I used to be a copywriter for a living (I still maintain some clients, but I mostly do my publishing consulting stuff nowadays), so I’m always a tough critic for ads like this. The sheer audacity of what comes next drew me in:

The typical ROM purchaser goes through several stages:

1.     Total disbelief that the ROM can do all this in only 4 minutes.
2.     Rhetorical (and sometimes hostile) questioning and ridicule.
3.     Reading the ROM literature and reluctantly understanding it.
4.     Taking a leap of faith and renting a ROM for 30 days.
5.     Being highly impressed by the results and purchasing a ROM.
6.     Becoming a ROM enthusiast and trying to persuade friends.
7.     Being ignored and ridiculed by the friends who think you’ve lost your mind.
8.     After a year of using the ROM your friends admiring your good shape.
9.     You telling them (again) that you only exercise those 4 minutes per day.
10.     Those friends reluctantly renting the ROM for a 30 day trial.Then the above cycle repeats from point 5 on down.

Take a look at this thing:

ROM machine

It’s, like, totally Zen. And it carries a $14,615.00 price tag. Holy Guacamole, Batman! And yet they have these 15-year warranties, and I’m adding up gym costs plus gas costs in my head, plus (of course) time costs – which are the biggest one for a certified-ADD father/husband/student/small business owner/author. Their ad concludes:

From 4 minutes on the ROM you get the same results as from 20 to 45 minutes aerobic exercise (jogging, running, etc.) for cardio and respiratory benefits, plus 45 minutes weight training for muscle tone and strength, plus 20 minutes stretching exercise for limberness/flexibility.

O. Really?

Well, I’ve poked around the internets, running keyword searches like “ROM scam” and “ROM ripoff” – nada. Instead, I see testimonials from people who really seem to be losing weight, building muscle, feeling better, and having more time on their hands. For someone who’s never been into sports (or athletics of any kind for that matter), I’ve gotta admit: four minutes a day is appealing.

So here’s what I’m thinking.

I just turned 29 last month. Less than one year from 30, I’ve been taking a lot of inventory of my life. In my Foresight@Regent courses, we learn a mode of personal and organizational learning called Systems Thinking – popularized by Peter Senge of The Fifth Discipline fame. The gist is we’re always creating the life we live; we’re always designing it. The problem is, most of us design it by default, unconsciously, and often in self-sabotaging ways. Bringing life-design to a conscious level is a skill set we humans are just developing. (Hence the rationale for Strategic Foresight, btw) This ‘intelligent design’ happens on societal levels of course, but also personal. These past couple of years I’ve been privileged to have some wonderful people in my life – mentors, life coaches, and even (gasp!) therapists and counselors who are helping me work through my ‘shadow’ sides and interact with reality in a more healthy and whole manner. I guess what I’m seeking is integration, a whole life well-lived for myself and others. Isn’t that what we all want? https://i2.wp.com/www.christianitysite.com/IMG_0292%20fence%20flower%20edit%20a.jpg

So: A friend of mine, Drew, was recently reading Integral Life Practice, edited by Ken Wilber and published out of the Integral Institute. The Integral folks are always fascinating, what with their map-making theories of everything and all. It turns out they have a great programme for ‘whole-life cross-training’ involving our physical, mental, and spiritual selves. Taking a cue from ILP (I’m still reading my own copy of the book), I’ve decided: I want to develop a doable life-rhthym, one that incorporates Centering Prayer, maybe some Yoga or DoxaSoma, and – of course – physical training. True, the apostle Paul said (in perfect Elizabethan English) “bodily exercise profiteth little,” but hey: that guy built low-cost dwelling for a living. I’d like to see him sit behind a computer all day and tell me that! (Plus at four minutes a day, I’d like to think even Paul would approve.)

In short, by the time I’m 30 I’d like to:

  • Engage in centering prayer daily – ’cause we can all use more of the conscious fellowship of the Godhead in our lives.
  • Practice Yoga – seeing as I have the grace and flexibility and in-touch-with-my-body-ness of a dried-up turnip
  • Exercise my body – because I need cardiovascular health; I want to keep up with my little girl; I like natural endorphin highs; I like to concentrate on my work; I need to lose 50 pounds this year

…and I want to do all this in about an hour a day. Because I want to delve more deeply into my studies, love my family more, spend more time with my neighbors, and hang out more with my friend Hugh Hollowell and his homeless friends downtown. Stuff I think I could do with some whole-life cross-training.

What If…

What if I could somehow procure a ROM? (I have my ways) Would any of you, dear readers, be interested in charting my progress with me? I’m thinking I’d blog about what it’s like for a time-management-challenged guy like me to engage in some ‘intelligent life design,’ how it feels to make positive, healthy, & consistent changes, and if this ROM thing really does what it says. Since workouts are ostensibly only four minutes long, I’m thinking that once a week I’d actually record my entire workout and put it on YouTube or Vimeo or something. It might not be as funny as Will It Blend?, but I’m thinking a pasty white guy like me working out could provide some of you with catharsis or comic relief.

Please comment if…

  • You have experience with the ROM or some kinda similar exercise equipment
  • You’d get a laugh out of seeing some ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics and workout vids along The Countdown to 30
  • You have stories of your own whole-life rhythms and lifestyle design you’d like to share
  • You want to make fun of me.

Update 12/10: I’m getting a ROM!

Just Remember – Only God Can Sleep With Everyone

So says one of my favorite contemporary spirituality writers, Rolheiser, as reported by Carl McColman who is faithfully redacting Chris Hooten.

A sampling:

“To understand our sexuality and to live with its unfulfilled tensions, it can be most helpful simply to understand this. In loving, the ultimate wound is not to be able to marry everyone. The greatest human hunger, felt in every cell in our being, is that we cannot be completely united with everyone and everything.”

Can I get an ‘amen’ in the comments section? No? 🙂 What, is it too close to Valentine’s Day? Well by all means, read it in context before casting thy stones of moral indignation. Rolheiser‘s original writing (and the courageous bloggers willing to wrestle with his subversive orthodoxy) challenge me to be a better author, husband, friend, and lover of God as a result. Bravo, all.

Related: Dan Brennan maintains and entire blog devoted to spirituality, sexuality, and cross-gendered friendships.

Second Anniversary, With Love

Two years ago today, my life-long friend & love Jasmin and I tied the knot. It was a grand affair: Around 180 friends, family, and raconteurs. Our ceremony was eclectic, blending the best from our open and participatory house church tradition with certain timeless elements for accessibility’s sake. Our wedding was co-officiated by Destiny Image Publishers‘ Vice President Don Milam, and international man of mystery Patrick Burke. Music was provided by the late, lamented Josh Irby Band, and his brother (my best friend and Best Man) Seth Irby, as well as his sister Bethany (…sense a trend here?) We had zillions of friends ushering, bartending, catering, and the whole nine yards. We ate a sumptuous feast in the same space, as friends toasted. We danced, we laughed, we photographed…a good time was had by all. The wedding had a real DIY feel to it, and as a result it had a lot of heart.

Wow, we’re really doing this…

Since we’ve been married a ton has happened; we’ve learned a lot about life and love and loss and compromise. We moved from our beloved Atlanta to help start something new in Raleigh; we’ve gotten involved in several fascinating business and nonprofit initiatives; we’ve grown as authors; I’ve started grad school, and we’ve had a little girl–Miss Jubilee Grace! Whew.

Thanks everyone who made not only our wedding but our marriage possible–all the friends we’ve left behind, the new ones we’ve made, and the ones we stay in touch with globally. And thank you, Jasmin Elish Morrell, for marrying me. It means a lot to me, it really does. I love you!

Coming tomorrow: My blogging about my as-of-yet über top-secret anniversary plans.

Whoever Said “The unexamined life is not worth living”…

…needed to take a Valium. Or a jackhammer. Sometimes, self-reflexive consciousness sucks. Hurts even. I mean, how does one even begin to know if the examinee’s vantage point is sound or $#!tty? Why can’t we be comfortably numb to the consequences of our actions in the kosmos?

Richard Rohr shared some prescient insights at Soularize regarding the inner witness of the Holy Spirit and our human spirits in contemplative spaciousness. He warned (in a life-affirming and non-gnostic way) against over-identifying with our thoughts, emotions, or the swirl of life’s circumstances. Sometimes I want to be lost in the contemplative love of God, and extend outward to every animal, every stream, every bush. Some days, I just want to disappear.

 

My Wife – Cooking Up A Feast of Words

My friend of 10 years and wife of 1.9, mother of our gorgeous and quirky little almost-four-month-old, is an amazing cook. And a better writer than me. Continue reading ‘My Wife – Cooking Up A Feast of Words’


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