Monday, August 4, 2014

Top Ten Zen Quotes

Hey readers,
Andrew and I (Andrew mostly) worked hard to compile a shortened version of our Top Ten Zen List- aka Top Ten Zen on the go! If you will, the following is a short table and summary of what we've posting this last week, enjoy it, print it out, post it somewhere you'll see it and follow the way to happier trail running!




Top Ten Zen Finale

Nick and I thought that it might be good if we had the entire list of Top Ten Zen for your viewing pleasure! Isn't that nifty? Similar to the format during the normal Top Ten Zen series, we will give you the quote and a shortened version of our interpretations into one big list! No stories though, but you can click the interpretations if you want to go grab the full story from each of our blogs.

And again, we are very honored to have been able to offer guidance to you and hope that you find good uses for the advice and stories we have laid out for you.

And now...the finale of the Top Ten Zen series.




"Every end is another beginning."



TOP TEN ZEN
QUOTES

SURVIVOR’S INTERPRETATION

RUNNER’S INTERPRETATION

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
“Body follows mind”
“The faster you hurry, the slower you go”
“You are not bound by 
your past”
“Life is only available in the here and now”
“You are the author of every next moment”
“Your own worst enemy lies within”
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them”
“Find joy in every little thing”
“True strength is found in the face of adversity”





































And once more, for emphasis, thank you for reading.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Top Ten Zen #10 True Strength

Hey readers this is the final blog in mine and Andrew's Top Ten Zen Series, it's been great writing them and I hope you enjoy...




Top Ten Zen #10 True Strength

Andrew and Nick have compiled a list of Zen-like philosophies comprised firstly of a quote, an interpretation of said quote, and finally a story to drive their point home. This list can aid you in doing anything from completing a 100-mile race to surviving cancer, or obtaining any goal you set your mind to. 

Here are the previous posts for those who missed them:
"True strength is found in the face of adversity."


The Survivor’s Take:  It is in hardship that you can get the best glimpse of how strong you truly are. And usually, you’re a lot stronger than you ever imagined.
The Runner’s Take:  See the mountain not as a something to lament about, but rather as an opportunity to prove yourself, either against yourself or your competitors.

Survivor’s Tales: When people find out what I’ve been through, the most frequent comment doled out to me is: “Wow! I could never go through what you went through! You must be so brave and/or strong (they don’t usually say “and/or”) to go through all that!” But I’m not sure that I’m any stronger or braver than anyone else if I’m being honest. Prior to my diagnosis, I would have said exactly the same thing: that I could never go through something so traumatic and difficult. However, that’s exactly what happened. Lurking somewhere within me was an unrelenting strength that refused to let me give up, that refused to let me give in. I don’t think I would have discovered it had I not been diagnosed with leukemia, and I think it’s inside us all. It can be difficult to truly know the measure of your potential until you face hardship. However, when you do find that adversity, it’s amazing what sort of strength you can discover deep within you.

Mountain Tales: I was approaching mile 90 of Ronda del Cims. I’d run out far ahead of Carles (now 4th place) and was trying to gain on 2nd place. I followed flag after flag as the course went off trail and started bushwhacking through high brush and small streams. It was 7:00am, 30 degrees outside and I was soaked! The flags taunted me as they seemed to aimlessly wander back and forth across a powerful 10-foot stream. I slipped once or twice, soaking my shoes, and resolved once again to go crashing through the thick brush. About two hours passed and a very infuriated, agitated Nick finally breached tree level and came into a clearing. I looked back at the hell that I’d just ascended. High bushes, cold streams, no trail, no footing. Adversity at its finest. Each step I took was one more step that I conquered and I reassured myself that I’d likely not come across anything worse than that for the remainder of the race.




























Beautiful, but not quite the place you would want to run


Of course, just because we are sharing our own extreme examples does not mean that these philosophies are all strictly for extreme situations. We share these because they can be used by anyone in the proper situations and we invite you, dear reader, to take these helpful tips into the world to use as you see fit. Feel free to hoard them or share them with others. It is both of our hope that these do some good somewhere, and so we wish you luck in your journey of a thousand Zen-filled steps.

And that concludes Top Ten Zen! I would like to say it has been an honor for us both to be able to do this series and be able to share it with so many people. We have received very heart-warming and enthusiastic feedback from many of you and are touched that we have been able to offer help and guidance to a number of people. What started off as a mentality I'd adopted for a race turned into a comparison between styles of survival between us when it came to racing and beating cancer and then morphed into an idea for this series. It's been an enormous pleasure to be able to share our thoughts and experiences with you all and hope that our books have a similar effect when they come out in the near future.

Stay tuned to Andrew's continual progress in his recovery as well as his writings and musings at: http://survivingthecure.blogspot.com/
Keep up with Nick as he continues to race the most grueling races he can find at: http://ultrademus.blogspot.com/

Andrew Bundy
Nick Hollon

Friday, August 1, 2014

Top Ten Zen #9 Finding Joy


Hey Readers, 

We're almost to the end of our mini-epic series of Zenocity! (I don't think that's a word actually...) Just one more after this! Enjoy #9!


Top Ten Zen #9

Andrew and Nick have compiled a list of Zen-like philosophies comprised firstly of a quote, an interpretation of said quote, and finally a story to drive their point home. This list can aid you in doing anything from completing a 100-mile race to surviving cancer, or obtaining any goal you set your mind to. 

Here are the previous posts for those who missed them:
  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
  2. Body follows mind
  3. The faster you hurry, the slower you go
  4. You are not bound by your past
  5. Life is only available in the here and now
  6. You are the author of every next moment
  7. Your worst enemy lies within
  8. Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them

Free sledding

"Find joy in every little thing."


The Survivor’s Take: When facing hard times, it pays to find things to make you laugh and smile. Problems don’t seem as heavy when you take them on with a grin and a giggle.
The Runner’s Take: Smile, look up and enjoy the scenery. Stomp on the flowers if they provide you better grip on the climb, but don’t forget to smell them!

Survivor’s Tales: Anyone who has been in the hospital will tell you it’s a pretty boring place most of the time. (It’s generally not a good thing when it gets interesting though.) So to pass the time, and also to keep my spirits up, I played practical jokes. My favorite involved a spoon, some Jell-O, and a very pale nurse. I was too weak to eat the Jell-O myself at the time, and after my mom missed my mouth once with the spoon, I got an idea. We set up, giggling like mad, and put on our game faces as we called in the nurse. Neither of us would specify exactly what happened, only that we “Needed the nurse to get in here right away.” A couple minutes later the nurse showed up and froze as she saw me clutching my eye, little bits of red Jell-O oozing from between my fingers. “She got me in the eye,” I groaned. The nurse turned white as a sheet and quickly spun around, muttering something about getting the doctor. Luckily she had a good enough sense of humor to laugh with us after we stopped her. Finding funny things to cheer you up, whether it’s something as simple as reading a joke book or something as elaborate as a harmless prank (harmless being key), will help get you through the tough times if you remember to laugh as often as possible.

Mountain Tales:  I was coming off of the backside of a notoriously difficult mountain pass. The descent was steep and covered in long patches of dirty snow. I watched as the runner ahead of me plodded down the top of a long snow chute. The runner suddenly slipped and started sliding off down the chute at great speed. I was worried and opened my mouth to yell out to him. But then all of a sudden, he recovered just before he would have careened into the sharp rocks below. He picked himself up and kept moving as if he’d meant to do it all along. Anxiously, I moved closer to the snow chute, plopped my butt down as I’d watched the runner before me do and swoooshh!! I was off lightning fast! Whatever material my shorts were made out of was much faster on snow than the runner before me. I was horrified but I smiled and laughed. The laughter was partially out of fear, partially from the adrenaline, and partially from the fun of getting to sled in the Pyrenees for free! For that brief moment, the competition and the race faded away. I shook off the snow from my shoes and smiled back up at the snow chute, happy to be alive.




































How it probably looked to the nurse
Andrew would like to point out that he actually mentioned his story and talked about using humor as a tool to get through cancer treatments in a previous series of his, Awareness Week. The specific post was: Awareness Week: Surviving Cancer, where he mentioned five different methods that could be used to get through the rough treatments and dark times that come along with cancer and the after-effects.

Of course, just because we are sharing our own extreme examples does not mean that these philosophies are all strictly for extreme situations. We share these because they can be used by anyone in the proper situations and we invite you, dear reader, to take these helpful tips into the world to use as you see fit. Feel free to hoard them or share them with others. It is both of our hope that these do some good somewhere, and so we wish you luck in your journey of a thousand Zen-filled steps.

Nick Hollon
Andrew Bundy

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Top Ten Zen #8 Go Beyond Your Limits

Hey readers,

I know last post was a bit...melancholy. However, today will be much more cheerful and uplifting!!! (All the extra exclamation points must make it true!!!) Consider it the second part of a mini-series within the mini-series if you would.

Top Ten Zen #8

Andrew and Nick have compiled a list of Zen-like philosophies comprised firstly of a quote, an interpretation of said quote, and finally a story to drive their point home. This list can aid you in doing anything from completing a 100-mile race to surviving cancer, or obtaining any goal you set your mind to. 

Here are the previous posts for those who missed them:
  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
  2. Body follows mind
  3. The faster you hurry, the slower you go
  4. You are not bound by your past
  5. Life is only available in the here and now
  6. You are the author of every next moment
  7. Your worst enemy lies within


Self-acceptance, now with 100% more hair

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them."


The Survivor’s Take:  Once you learn to accept your limitations and flaws you can begin to pick up the pieces after a great hardship. Positive self-talk can haul you out of even the darkest pits.
The Runner’s Take:  Race your own race. Be happy with yourself, your own abilities, your own strengths and your own weaknesses. Embrace your limits and you will embody your best self.

Survivor’s Tales: 2008 was not a good year for me. It took some time for me to get out of the funk I was in following my release from the hospital. In fact, it took several excruciating episodes in my life, one after another, to finally admit I had a drug problem and start to go to rehab (albeit with some initial resistance). I used daily positive self-talk to tell myself what a great job I was doing and how strong I was for making it through all that I had and continuing to stay sober. As my head began to clear, I realized part of my original problem was a result of not wanting to come to grips with what my new physical limitations were. It took a couple years before the lesson sank in in its entirety. Once I started to accept my limits, I could start to really enjoy life and rebuild all that I lost with the cancer and the cure.

Mountain Tales It was the very first climb of Ronda del Cims. The trail was brutally steep and covered in tree roots. I was breathing heavy and could feel my heart rate soaring out of control. A group of about ten runners clicked against my heels directly behind me as I practically breathed through the shirt of the runner in front of me. I didn’t respond well to this many people crowding my personal bubble, especially when running that hard. I sighed heavily as runner after runner broke past me, each of them breathing hard and working their way up the mountain pass. I stood back for a moment and looked down at an almost constant stream of athletes rising up the switchbacks beneath me. “Race your own race,” I said to myself. “Be happy with your own abilities Nick.” I broke into a walk and took control of my breath and heart rate. Twenty miles later, I was alone and closing in on fifth place.




























When Nick gets anxious, he turns into a...Nick figure...sorry...

Of course, just because we are sharing our own extreme examples does not mean that these philosophies are all strictly for extreme situations. We share these because they can be used by anyone in the proper situations and we invite you, dear reader, to take these helpful tips into the world to use as you see fit. Feel free to hoard them or share them with others. It is both of our hope that these do some good somewhere, and so we wish you luck in your journey of a thousand Zen-filled steps.

Andrew Bundy
Nick Hollon

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Top Ten Zen #7 Your Worst Enemy

Hey blog,

This post might seem a little depressing. In truth, it's kind of a mini-series within the series, so it ties into a much happier and uplifting post! Don't worry, everything works out...look, a meditating kitty! See? Told you.

Hopefully this makes up for the semi-depressing post  














Top Ten Zen


Andrew and Nick have compiled a list of Zen-like philosophies comprised firstly of a quote, an interpretation of said quote, and finally a story to drive their point home. This list can aid you in doing anything from completing a 100-mile race to surviving cancer, or obtaining any goal you set your mind to. 

Here are the previous posts for those who missed them:
  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
  2. Body follows mind
  3. The faster you hurry, the slower you go
  4. You are not bound by your past
  5. Life is only available in the here and now
  6. You are the author of every next moment

Nick on the verge of deciding he
wanted to quit life


"Your own worst enemy lies within."


The Survivor’s Take: Nothing hurts you more than your own negative thoughts.
The Runner’s Take:  The mind is the culprit of quitting.

Survivor’s Tales: After suffering through cancer and GVHD and just barely escaping from the hospital with my life by the thinnest edge, you would assume that I would be thrilled to be out in the world, that I gained a new appreciation of life. No. Instead, I looked at the scars and my bloated figure and felt an intense black hatred for myself bursting through to infest any hints of happiness and gratitude that dared poke its head up. As a result of this self-loathing, I began to heavily abuse my medications in an attempt to blot out conscious thought and all the pain that came with it. I could have chosen to be happy about surviving, but instead I wallowed in agonizing self-pity and righteous self-hatred. I chose that of my own volition, angry and hurt by everything that happened to me, disgusted by my appearance. I chose that path. But as we’ll see in this next post, although you can make yourself quite miserable with just the flick of a thought, you can also instill a great deal of satisfaction in the same manner.

Mountain Tales:  It was 3:30am, some 19 hours into the Ronda del Cims. Carles (3rd place) and I were deep into the race and had accumulated over 30,000 feet of gain. We were far from the finish and battling through the night together. Passing a stream Carles looked at me and said “Quince minutos llegamos.” Fifteen more minutes and the two of us would be at the mile 85 aid station, Illa. Thirty minutes later, Carles looked over and said to me “Cinco minutos, seguro!” Five minutes click away with no aid station in sight. The two of us hurt, our pace was fading, our energy dwindling and our morale all but vanished. “Does Carles even know what he’s doing?” I could feel my body weaken as the poisonous thoughts continued to fester in my mind. I stopped. I had to change my mindset. I looked up at the full moon, pine trees blocking off the distant high peaks, and I felt alive and blessed to be wandering through the Pyrenees. I smiled and resolved that the damned aid station could have been hours away, it didn’t matter. I’d made peace with my own worst enemy.






























Andrew's worst enemy lies within and a little to the right

Of course, just because we are sharing our own extreme examples does not mean that these philosophies are all strictly for extreme situations. We share these because they can be used by anyone in the proper situations and we invite you, dear reader, to take these helpful tips into the world to use as you see fit. Feel free to hoard them or share them with others. It is both of our hope that these do some good somewhere, and so we wish you luck in your journey of a thousand Zen-filled steps.

Nick Hollon
Andrew Bundy

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Zen #6 author of the moment

Welcome to the next installment of Top Ten...


Top Ten Zen #6

Andrew and Nick have compiled a list of Zen-like philosophies comprised firstly of a quote, an interpretation of said quote, and finally a story to drive their point home. This list can aid you in doing anything from completing a 100-mile race to surviving cancer, or obtaining any goal you set your mind to. 

Here are the previous posts for those who missed them:
  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step 
  2. Body follows mind
  3. The faster you hurry, the slower you go
  4. You are not bound by your past
  5. Life is only available in the here and now


The author of every next "S"


"You are the author of every next moment."


             
 
The Survivor’s Take:  You   get to decide how to handle your future, no matter how glum or bleak it   looks. You can either to think poorly or you can resolve to think   positively in every next moment.
 
The Runner’s Take:  Events   are just events, nothing more. How you react to that climb, that descent or   that long stretch of road is entirely up to you.
 

Survivor’s Tales:  When I was first diagnosed with leukemia just three weeks   before I should have graduated high school, I was understandably a little   bummed out. After all…I had cancer! For the first day of officially being a   cancer patient I was numb and quiet and said next to nothing, just nodded   occasionally. However, by the next day I wrested my mental faculties away   from the shock and started to think about what would be happening to me.   “Well,” I told myself. “You can either be abjectly miserable and have a   crappy time, or you can approach this with a smile and a middle finger toward   your stupid bone marrow cells.” I opted for the second choice, and sought out   a silver lining. Well, I didn’t have to take any finals! No teacher would   dock points to poor ol’ me for not showing up to take the tests because I was   being pumped full of chemotherapy drugs. I seized upon that (amongst other   positives) and chose how I would feel in that next moment and all the ones   after it.
 

Mountain Tales: 20 hours into Ronda del Cims I was coming off of   the backside of the longest climb of the race, Pic Negre. The trail was a   quad murdering combination of steep talus slopes, scattered rocks and cold   biting wind. I’d kept 5th place up until this point but I glanced   back and could see several runners closing in on me up from above. I took a   step forward and smashed my entire right foot sideways into a rock, knocking   it loose and groaning loudly as it whacked into my left ankle. Initially, it   hurt. But I immediately thought back to the above quote, “I decide.” I   whispered to myself. I tried hard and managed to forget about the pain.    I lifted my head up high and could feel my legs cramping and my stomach   growling. I loved running the descents back home, so what was the difference   now? “There isn’t one,” I told myself. Faking a smile, I drifted down into   the trees as the lights of my competition faded behind me.


Nick decides one finger is enough

Of course, just because we are sharing our own extreme examples does not mean that these philosophies are all strictly for extreme situations. We share these because they can be used by anyone in the proper situations and we invite you, dear reader, to take these helpful tips into the world to use as you see fit. Feel free to hoard them or share them with others. It is both of our hope that these do some good somewhere, and so we wish you luck in your journey of a thousand Zen-filled steps.

Andrew Bundy
Nick Hollon

  Andrew Bundy

Monday, July 28, 2014

Top Ten Zen #5 The here and now

We're at the halfway point for the Zen series. Andrew I had a long work session yesterday and completed a ton of work for our blogs. Several times we noted, with some incredulity, just how productive we were being and were quite pleased with ourselves.
Top Ten Zen

Andrew and Nick have compiled a list of Zen-like philosophies comprised firstly of a quote, an interpretation of said quote, and finally a story to drive their point home. This list can aid you in doing anything from completing a 100-mile race to surviving cancer, or obtaining any goal you set your mind to. 

Here are the previous posts for those who missed them:
  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
  2. Body follows mind
  3. The faster you hurry, the slower you go
  4. You are not bound by your past

"Life is only available in the here and now."

Onward and upward in the moment


The Survivor’s Take:  By focusing on this current moment, you can avoid all the stressors associated with worrying about the past and future.
The Runner’s Take:  Ground yourself in the present. When you run, just run. Be in the now, and be the best you can be in that moment.

Survivor’s Tales: In September 2010 I went in for surgery to have a double ankle transplant that would require me to be in a wheelchair, unable to put any weight on either ankle for upwards of three months. Three…months! Anytime I thought about how long I would be unable to walk, I nearly had a panic attack, and sometimes did. I couldn’t imagine not having use of my legs for three months. After about half a dozen panic attacks, I wondered if there was another way to look at the situation. Maybe I shouldn’t focus on how inconceivably long three months was, maybe I should just focus on getting through it one day at a time. By focusing on the now, I managed to almost completely reign in my panic attacks and those last few weeks in the wheelchair didn’t seem all that bad. I stopped worrying about the future and focused on getting through that moment.

Mountain Tales: Trail running, especially technical trail running, demands a certain sense of presence. When I was pushing my way up the notoriously technical Comapedrosa, large boulders shook underneath each weary step I took. The climb required my full attention and presence. If my thoughts had been anywhere else during that climb, I’m sure I would have slipped. But what about the not so technical parts of the race? Places where my mind could wander? I kept control of my drifting thoughts by zeroing in on the next red flag, the next course marker or, at times, the runner ahead of me. In this way, I was grounded in the moment and felt I was able to move forward with efficiency and purpose. Endurance racing is often about conservation of energy and there is no better way to preserve your mental energy than to ground yourself in the present.  




























Living in the moment with giant medical boots

This series has been a fun, uplifting experience for the two of us and has opened our eyes both to each other and our unique experiences. We've learned a lot about each other, little things, big things, and gained a new understanding of ourselves. We hope that this series has been helpful to those that read it and has allowed you to gain a similar enlightenment into your own life and thoughts. It has been a pleasure and an honor to share ourselves with you. Thank you all for reading, and a big extra thanks to those who have shared our posts with others, it means a lot to us that you think highly enough of our work to show it to others and we hope you continue to do so. As a thank you to everyone, Andrew wanted to share a short story he wrote a few months ago: Relax.

Nick Hollon
Andrew Bundy