Tag: thoughts

4 AM challenge begins! Push-up challenge; achievement unlocked.

I completed my January push-up challenge! #happy

100 push-ups per day for a whole month is totally achievable. Muscles adapt to the exercise regime. I did a total of 3121 push-ups during the month and recorded most of it.

Did I gain a six pack? Hell no!

Did I lose fat? Hell no! I still look like a marshmallow!

BUT, my arms firmed up, my shoulders broadened a bit and my chest firmed up.

My body feels better, and that is all that matters!

I will/have posted the video of my challenge on Youtube (it is currently uploading as I am typing this).

 

So…. now on to the next challenge: waking up at 4 AM every day. As I am writing this, it is 4:40 AM on the 2nd of February – meaning that this challenge is already paying dividends in terms of me being more productive in my world of creativity.

I will be using the extra time in the morning to focus on the following areas:

  1. Getting ahead of normal work (checking emails, doing work, etc)
  2. Reading and writing for my Master’s mini-dissertation (I have a deadline of 31 Oct 2019, but I might as well complete as much of my mini-dissertation during this challenge)
  3. Doing some spiritual maintenance (reading, praying, etc)
  4. Exercising (weights, push-ups)
  5. CREATIVE WORK!! (idea generation, writing scripts, editing, etc!)

I am definitely most excited for number 5 above.

Let’s see how the 4am challenge goes!

 

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2019 Challenges – January – pushups

So, 2019 has kicked off and we are almost done with JanuWORRY. We have received the January paycheck (hopefully you have!) and now we can start paying off some of that December holidaying credit card debt.

Some people have “new year’s resolutions” and some people don’t. I have a low success rate when it comes to new year’s resolutions, so I thought it would be interesting to try something different for 2019. The thing that I am trying out isn’t something that is novel or super unique – because let’s be honest, most of our ideas and spurts of creativity are in some ways birthed by others. There are things, people and events that INSPIRE us. So how unique can our ideas or creative projects really be, given that they are a reflection of the impression or inspiration that was passed to us through others?  Don’t get me wrong, I really do think that art and creativity are very important mediums and methods of expressing the way we feel and think about situations. Art can also be used as a tool to document a social or cultural state, or a tool to communicate certain things. I digress.

My new year’s resolution is to do a month-long challenge for every month of 2019. I will be documenting my challenges through videos, pictures and writing. I am hoping to post some of the experiences that I have had on these challenges on Youtube, and this would enable me to satisfy my yearning to produce videos/films/stories.

My January challenge is to do 100 pushups every day for a whole month. At day 26 (26 January) I am still going strong and have not missed a day of pushups. It is an easy exercise that requires almost no investment – all that you have to do is put in some time! I have filmed most of my sets and also a few of the thoughts that I have had whilst doing this challenge. I will be posting a final video about this challenge in early February.

I will have lots of time to edit my videos in February, as this particular month’s challenge will entail waking up at 4 am every single day. I want to see just how productive I can be by adopting this early-riser lifestyle.

So far my challenges for the year are:

  1. January – Do 100 Pushups per day
  2. February – Waking up at 4 am every day
  3. March – Run 5 times per week (minimum of 3km)
  4. April – No sugar or pizza
  5. May – Intermittent fasting
  6. June – Read a book every week (4 books for the month)
  7. July – Document the food that I eat
  8. August – Eat only salads for lunch
  9. September – No social media
  10. October – Run a 10km every week
  11. November – Draw the human face every day (self portrait perhaps?)
  12. December – Daily gratitude journal

In addition to the challenges above, I will be doing year long challenges, which include:

  1. Taking a selfie every day in order to stitch together an epic time lapse for 2019
  2. Taking a 1 sec video every day in order to stitch together an epic video of 2019

Let’s see how it goes!

 

#1 – Small Pleasures

I struggled with this topic. The first thing that popped into my mind was coffee – that morning brew that kicks my morning into gear. But how do you take an interesting picture of something ordinary? Herein lies the challenge of a seemingly mundane topic. For me it is all about finding that unique perspective / composition that tells an interesting story – but at the end of this challenge I kind of slipped into the mundane and did not really convey a interesting or unique picture.

There were quite a few ideas that sprang to mind, but what really stood out to me were i) hobbies ii) spending time with people. Another spin on the topic could have been: what are the universal small pleasures that cuts across cultures and borders? A father holding his daughter’s hand. A child blowing bubbles and the way parents delight in the company of their children. The time I spent with my dad taking photos in Braam or in our neighbourhood.

I ended up going with my guitar (but I am not 100% happy with the picture, because I don’t feel that it really tells a proper and unique story). Maybe for the next topic I will spend more time brainstorming before posting.

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Escape of the City Sleeker

Roodeplaat Dam

A leisurely Sunday drive north from Pretoria took me to the tranquil Roodeplaat dam. Nature has always been a welcome escape to my sometimes frustrated and busy city sleeker soul. The spellbound serenity of the barley moving water soothes and envelopes the mind with a powerful relaxation. The peaceful afternoon hypnotizes me and I can feel all the pent up negativity slowly seeping away into the void as I completely forget the grains of sand passing through the hourglass. Mother Nature always finds a way to rinse out the soot of a busy and sometimes seemingly trivial 8 to 5 rat race that we sentence ourselves to.

As I sit in complete peace, my soul content, a few words that pop into my head: “Food is the most abused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant”…Why do we choose to spite ourselves? It makes me sad that we can so easily chain ourselves to materialistic aspirations. Before you know it you are chasing money, success, fame, recognition and acceptance. This capitalistic game really seems trivial and juvenile as I enjoy the company of a few conversational birds, leaping fish and the whispers of the wind.

Soothing Waters

Roodeplaat Dam

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Mother

This is a picture of an overexposed mother hen, running around with her darling chicks. Father died a premature death and none could see it coming. He was unintentionally startled by the gardener and so his flight mechanism kicked in. He flew over the wall with a shriek and promptly turned into a KFC meal. The Rottweiler let out a burp that made Mother Hen lament her partner’s death for days on end. Alas, the father, promiscuous as ever, left behind a legacy… Five baby chicks were born soon after his death, two as black as the Rottweiler’s coat, and three as grey as a dreary London afternoon.

Now the real trial has begun, as Mother Hen fights valiantly to keep her chicks alive. There are all sorts of danger lurking around, with the most prominent danger being the all-seeing eyes of the ominous owls. Owls with plate-like eyes, unblinking gazes, bobbing heads and claws as sharp as daggers…

Moms and fathers are the best! Although they are sometimes misunderstood, or sometimes misunderstand their children, they only mean well and give so much. They teach us to aim high in life, to respect others, to act with compassion. They pay for our education, buy our clothes and cars. They give an abundance and don’t demand a lot from us (well, maybe a clean room and good grades). If you mess with Mother Hen’s chicks, she’ll try to peck your eyeballs out!! So here’s to all the mothers and fathers, who tirelessly care for us! We, the children, salute you! There is nothing quite like a mother’s embrace.

Smoke and the Broken Mirror

We all have our addictions; sports, smoking, gambling, writing, dating, working, religion, talking, painting, etcetera. Without ‘addictions’ we would all lose our minds and either become mass-murderers or commit suicide. Addictions are often an outlet of frustration, something we need in order to keep our sanity. I’m not even going to touch on the ‘right’ vs ‘wrong’, because it is all relative. But I would like to think that there are better types of outlets than others. Rather go run a mile than drink your sorrows away: we need to cultivate healthy addictions.

 

Smoke and the Broken Mirror

 

Take another sip of wine, blood –

Breathe in the clouds of peace and

Listen to the popping sound

Of soul’s release, its opiate.

The world is torn and bloody

Your own heart broken and shoddy

Careless you stuff the pipe with leaves,

Roll the newspaper – its content grim.

Fire and smoke is your lullaby

Keeping you sane and calm

In this broken mirror of a world

Without the addiction life dead

Without the wine and smoke you die

 

Without release you are trapped

In a broken mirror of smoke

The exit is not always clearly mapped

Without release you are trapped

 

Francois Hermanus Steyn – December 2011

Key to Life

A significant part of our life is shaped when we part ways with our secondary education. It is here where friends oft part ways: the blue-collars and white-collars embark on their separate journeys. The shackles of school are lifted and we find out what Life can hold for us. The dread, the opportunity, the anxiety, the fear, the freedom!

The 21st birthday is a very noteworthy event in society today (the key being a famous symbol), and a lot happens in the three years after matric. It is this period when the safe enclosure of parents’ omnipotent wings is lifted and we are thrust onto a merciless world. It is in this period we lay the foundation for our views and opinions. It is this period where we learn to stand on our own feet, although some of us carry on hiding behind others.

We find out about Life and the workings of the world. We find out about the value of money and that people will die for a thousand rand. We find out that education is not cheap. We find out about the injustice of the world, that there are people starving on the street, living in boxes, while some of us pose for cameras’ flashes, or drive drunk from party to party. We find out that the power of politicians is tainted with corruption – some of us don’t even take notice.

We find out that we live in a beautiful world. We find out that driving to the coast only takes a thousand rand. We find out that education is the most valuable thing in this world. We find out that the bigger people are, the harder they fall. We find out that we can make a difference to people who are struggling to find their feet. We find out that friends are irreplaceable. We find out that we, the people, will have to stand together to make a difference in our country in order to lead SA.

As we grow up we are paving the twisting road of our lives until we reach the golden age that consists of living off of a pension. Along this road we will witness many events and hoard many memories.

 

Key to Life

 

You have been granted the key to life

  But wait – you have possessed it from birth

Doors constantly open a smidge: light

   Filtering into dreams, giving substance

For these dreams, you’re headstrong, you’ll fight

   You open these doors with straining body, mind

Behind them, gifts of success you’ll find.

   I have seen you grow, from previous darkness

Into the shimmering, vibrant sun’s rays

   The once fragile peachy petals, pulsating

With an urgent call to water; knowledge.

   Your rose is bathing in the sun now;

Frolicking, swaying: orange, firm, bright

   It fills my heart to the brim; with merriment:

To see your olive eyes light up in the sun

   As you dance and glide towards your dreams

You have the key to life locked inside you

   The key of happiness, success, joy, hope

 

Keep your eyes on the love that envelope your life:

   Taste its sweet nectar,

Listen to its daily bread,

   Hear it amidst the thunder,

Smell it constantly as you run

   Through trials and labyrinths,

See it as your beacons;

   Your guide through trouble

And your host at feasts

   Hold on to it as you flower,

Caress and feel this love;

   The ultimate key to life

 

Francois Hermanus Steyn – October 5th 2011