My Reflections in Nature; The Final Quarter

9-Month Quest Update

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At 9:30 last Saturday night I was running up a road back to my girlfriend’s white Nissan Rogue after completing a stunning backpacking trip through the Glacier Peak Wilderness in the Cascades (full trip report and vlog coming very soon).  Three of us took on a 44 mile trek and I was pretty damn exhausted while finishing the last three miles, trail running up a mountain towards our transportation.  All of this in celebration of the Fourth of July, or more just an excuse for a backpacking trip, which also happened to coincide with my nine months of living alcohol free.

One reflection I had while walking through these stupidly beautiful and varying landscapes, was how similar life is to the adventure we were on.  Challenges in the outdoors can be very complex and require quick thinking, just as in real life.  They can take you off track due to faulty route finding which in turn costs you time on the trail pushing goals and camps further from reach.  They’re physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding.  You’re always being faced with new challenges, both minor and major, some grueling, some require digging deep into your fear and conquering it, but they’re always overturning and linking from one to the next followed by breaks of insane beauty before reemerging you in chaos.  You learn from each of these experiences and move on with the knowledge of how to handle a similar situation later.  Shifty rocks, unstable snow, darkness setting with no camp in sight and mosquitos biting the shit out of any exposed skin, legs cramping, dehydration, exhausting heat, numbing cold.. the list goes on.  No matter what happens during the trek, it must be finished at some point, in some way.  The option to bow out and just not finish what you have started does not really exist after a certain point, unless not being alive is an acceptable outcome to you.  Which means, when unfortunate circumstances arise, you have two options: be mentally miserable, bitch and complain, or you can find a way around the obstacles that present themselves and make the best out of your misfortune.  Since we are just a bunch of organisms attempting to ping our neuro receptors with jolts of dopamine, adjusting your mindset to do the latter is possible.

The past nine months have been the most transformative, life altering months of my life.  They’ve been productive in ways that will benefit me for years, perhaps decades, to come.  Yet there is still an internal turbulence brewing that works against what I am trying to accomplish.  I have had to learn to silence that turbulence, and also, energize it when necessary.  To get to a place where that is possible, I need to completely calm my ever-pulsing brainwaves.  Meditation has done me wonders.  Intense exercise also helps clear the thought tinnitus riddled with politics, work tasks, relationship issues, and other trivial, lizard brained bullshit.  But the activity that proves the most effective is, without a doubt, spending multiple days outdoors with a set goal to obtain.  Removing myself from the stresses of modern life and replacing them with survival and nature allows a deeper cleansing than you’ll find at any Gold’s Gym and earns me a fresh perspective.

The days spent away this last week were more like a firmware update than a vacation.  I regained my purpose for this quest.  Remembered what it is that I am working for.  Realized the progress I have made so far.  Saw where I can make improvements.  Got calibrated.  A lot has changed in nine months, more positive change than at any point in my life, and I still have three more to go to finish off this year long assignment.  In reality, it never stops, until it does, and I want to make it the best it can be all the way up and to the ending.

“You want to know what anger is?  Well, just observe the sensations that arise and pass in your body while you are angry… … … Whenever I was angry, I focused on the object of my anger — something somebody else did or said — rather than on the physical reality of the anger.

… The most important thing I realized was that the deep source of my suffering is in the patterns of my own mind.  When I want something and it doesn’t happen, my mind reacts by generating suffering.  Suffering is not an objective condition in the outside world. It is a mental reacting generated by my own mind.” Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, excerpt from Tribe of Mentors, by Tim Ferris

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG #11: Bikin’ til the Legs Cramp!

West Seattle to Vashon Island and back with my Uncle

On Thursday my Uncle Paul and I took off on an epic bike ride, throwing fifty miles onto the pedals and converting my legs from solid transport vessels to Bill Cosby’s favorite dessert… waiiiiit a sec… I meant, JELL-O!  Sorry for the confusion.  Anyways… watch this fun vid!

For my last Quest Update, Click Here!

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG #10: Bro’in’ It Up in the Olympics

Here’s the promised footage of my brother and I camping and hiking out in the Olympics last week.  What a pretty and fun day hike.  It was super easy, but definitely had us sweating a bit due to the heat.

 

Click Here for my most recent Quest Update!

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Winning. Losing. Just Being.

An Update on the Most Epic of Quests.

What is up, party people!?  There is a lot in this post, so please read all the way through.

We’re well into month eight of my Quest, and holy moly is there a lot that has transpired since my last update.  Adventures I have gone on.  Soul searching I have done.  Work accomplishments that have come and passed.  Books I have read.  Let’s get into the nitty gritty and break down this on-going self-improvement quest into its five key areas of focus.

Mental Health.  I have to say my mental health is pretty steady.  Besides having random bouts of self-doubt, I have maintained a pretty optimistic outlook on life, am successfully practicing non-reactivity, and am trending in a direction that I am content with.  That is not to say I don’t, at times, find myself slightly down or unmotivated, but I am able to define where my negative feelings are coming from and isolate those feelings to whatever obstacle is responsible for the negative thought loop.  Once I do that, I can break that thought loop.  Often, any negative feelings can be traced back to my impatience with my career or financials, or not being able to do something I want to do.  When there is nothing I can do about the outcome, or if the solution is one that will take time to achieve, I have started to breathe through my discontentment and reframe my perspective to take the action needed to help me get where I want to be.

My meditation practice has seen some significant growth and is bleeding into my daily routine, meaning, I am finding myself clearing my mind by noting my breath when feelings of anxiety, stress, or self-doubt begin.  That is a massive change that has significant benefits, maybe even the most significant development that I have undergone during this process.

Physical Health.  Stated simply, I’m in shape.  I am strong, I am lean, I workout 4-7x per week and am maintaining a weight at around 182-185 lbs.  Although I would consider that on the lighter side for my frame, I feel fantastic and think that adding any additional muscle mass is only going to benefit me aesthetically.  My diet could use some work, but if I just got rid of the momentary lapses in discipline that urge me to shovel spoonfuls of PB with a delectable honey drizzle into my gaping mouth, then I would be doing just fine.  I, also, tend to drink an iced hazelnut americano at some point during each day, which I have started being cognizant of, not just from a health perspective (the syrup and cream), but also because of the sheer amount of plastic that a habit like that generates.

Here’s what my diet regularly looks like:  In the morning, I, typically, fast until 10 AM -1 PM.  I break that fast with either a protein shake or some eggs over a bed of greens (with an avocado if we have one).  Lunch is often a salad and some leftovers, but if I’m in a rush, a sandwich or burrito from Whole Foods or PCC may be indulged.  I have, as of lately, been cooking my dinner on the grill.  After my daily workout I drink a large whey protein shake.

I, also, take some supplements, here is what I am currently taking:  Whey Protein, Creatine, Pre-Workout, Alpha Brain by ONNIT, Brain by Host Defense, CoQ10, B12, Krill Oil, Vitamin D3, ZMA (Zinc Magnesium Asperate), 5-HTP, Collagen Peptides, Aniracetam (nootropic – take only as needed and sometimes with my pre-workout for added focus)

Creativity:  Honestly, I have not been doing all I can here.  My focus feels somewhat divided between work, the outdoors, the gym, and I have been neglecting to let my creative juices flow like the river they could be.  I haven’t even been updating this blog very regularly, but what I have been doing is enjoying editing and recording videos of my adventures, which I have posted to the “a Life to Summit” YouTube Channel.  I, also, am feeling more inspired lately and feel that I have a lot of pent up writing to slog through.  One of my goals for this coming month is to make some progress on the book I am writing.

Relationships:  In some ways, this has seen tremendous growth.  My girlfriend and I have been fighting and bickering much less than normal, and I feel like we are understanding one another better and acknowledging what sets us off.  It’s not perfect, as no relationship ever is, but we’re making strides, and I’m very pleased with that.  My other relationships with my family and friends are going just fine, minus the fact that there is just not enough time to adequately spend with all the people I care about.

On the other hand, I have further written off the most toxic relationship in my life, and harsh, but incredibly honest, words were conveyed through text messages to that person and their significant other.  I have come to terms with the fact that some people cannot be changed, and no matter who that person is supposed to be to you, if they are negatively impacting your mental health, they do not need to be in your life.

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Career/Learning:  I have sold two houses so far and have been busily growing my pipeline.  I am, currently, in between very active buyers, believe I have a couple listings coming up and am generally looking at this career move as the best decision I have ever made.  With that said, I am somewhat stressed out, the lull between clients has been too long and led to some self-doubt, but think I will make a solid career out of this venture once I have fully ramped my business up.

I am reading daily and applying what I read to my life.  Great things are coming from that.  Listening is the other thing I am working on, and my Audible and Calm apps have been great tools to hone that skillset.

 

As I have been gearing up my real estate business and further growing this blog, I have been paying attention to how people interact with their social media, and there are a couple things that have bothered me about what I have witnessed.  One of those things is that I feel like there are a lot of phonies out there.  Frauds, if you will.  People who convey that they are someone that they truly are not, and I want to do my very best to ensure I do not fall into this category, because, in reality, I am not some zen-minded intellectual, rather, I operate in chaos and my life has been a series of me stumbling into stupid decision after dumb outcome, rinse, repeat.  The whole concept of this year has been to find balance and learn to clear out that chaos.  It’s a step that has been needed to be taken to correct an unstable path.  With that said, these people I have deemed as phonies might not deserve such a harsh critic.  In fact, it is a negative time suck to even judge these people who are just trying to figure out who they are in this digitally connected world.  Or maybe they’re just trying to make a buck.  What drives someone else is completely separate from what drives me, and it is very easy to choose which lens you decide to view others through.  What I am trying to say is, I have kind of been a dick for a lot of years, but I think I might be coming to a place where I am shedding that dick skin. 😳

If I could offer advice to people out there battling with their online personality versus their true self, I would say to just get out and do what it is you claim you do and make it part of who you actually are.  For instance, if you are claiming to be a bad ass personal trainer who is a crazy hiking machine, then get the fuck out there TODAY and go hike something extremely hard.  Then do it tomorrow, too!  Followed by three more next week.  Show the world you can do things others cannot and set a precedent for yourself to stop encouraging half ass efforts just so that you can get a picture on top of some easily attainable mountaintop that makes people unfamiliar with the area say, “Oh, wow, they’re on top of a mountain, that must be hard.”  It’s easy to be on top of a mountain, it’s hard to find the steepest, longest route, and push yourself beyond what you know you are capable of.

Stop talking, start doing, and don’t stop doing until you get the results you desire.

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Lastly, I had a discussion this week with a childhood friend.  That friend is Antone Gerontis.  I am going to write a whole separate post regarding Antone’s journey, but am bringing your attention to him now, as his story is one of the most inspirational and heartbreaking things I have come across.  His mental strength is unrivaled and I am so honored to have had the chance to converse with him.  Antone and I went to elementary school together, and, unfortunately, he has become very, very sick for the last six plus years.  As we were talking he was prepping himself for a surgery and had a gaping hole in his chest.  Even with all of that, he had nothing but the kindest words to say and was telling me his dreams and goals for when he is healthy, again.  I know he is going to get there, but he needs your help.  He has spend all of his money battling his disease.  Please go visit his site and read his updates.

https://www.youcaring.com/antone-gerontis-563753

 

When an issue seems like it is too large and burdensome to bear, remember that any issue at a certain distance vanishes completely from sight and is no longer an issue at all.  I have spent a lot of time feeling like I am winning or losing at life, recently I have realized that I am just being, and will continue to just be until that vanishes completely from sight as well.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

P.S. WHOEVER DONATED A THOUSAND DOLLARS TO aLifetoSummit.com’s Patagonia trip!  HOLY SHIT!!!!!!! THANK YOUUUUU!!!!!!! I, literally, just saw that and am so emotionally overwhelmed and thankful.

P.P.S.  I have alot of footage to upload to my Vlog, including a trip into the Olympics with my little brother.  Here is the recently uploaded video of us climbing Saint Helens in May.

P.P.P.S. Here’s what one of my recent workouts looks like:

Warmup:  1300 meter row on 10 difficulty in 5 minutes.

Squats
135 lbs x 10
Pause set: 135 lbs x 10
205 lbs x 10
255 lbs x 6
315 lbs x1
255 lbs x 6
255 lbs x 6

Shoulder press dumbbells
50 lbs x 10
50 lbs x 15
50 lbs x 12
50 lbs x 10

Single-Leg Leg Press
90 lbs x 10 ea
180 lbs x 10 ea
270 lbs x 4 ea + 180 lbs x 8 ea

(Superset with)

Isolated High Row on Hammer Strength (Plate Loaded)
90 lbs (180 lbs total) x 10 each
115 lbs (230 lbs total) x 10 ea
135 lbs (270 lbs total) x 10 ea

Lateral and Frontal (Alternating Sets) Dumbbell Raises
25 lbs x 10  L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs x 10 L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs X 10 L
25 lbs X 10 F

Low Cable Crossovers
80 lbs (each stack) x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10

Rear Foot Elevated Lunge
25 lb dumbbells (50 lbs total) x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg

Sauna and Steam.

 

Vlog #8: The Most Epic of Fails; The North Cascades

Earlier this week, my trusty hiking/climbing buddy, Austin, and I headed into the North Cascades to summit Silver Star Mountain.  After getting there and getting setup to do the climb, we were disappointed to find that the trail was lost in intermittent snow with no visible boot pack and a raging river we would have to ford.  After wasting an hour of morning we decided to try to find the second entry point but it was not where we had thought it was.  So, we decided to just head up the middle of a basin and see if we could climb a peak.  Seemed like a decent idea…

 

And….. Lesson learned.  I will be back in the coming weeks with a successful summit!  It is now a must.

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Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG: How to Grow and Harvest Lion’s Mane

Nootropics.  They are all the craze in Silicon Valley.  Whatever can make you smarter and gives you the edge over your peers.  One of the oldest and most credibly researched nootropics is a mushroom known as Lion’s Mane, though it’s official name is one of those hard to pronounce Latin ones that make you sound like an idiot when you try to pronounce it.  In fact, Lion’s Mane is not some new nootropic, no, knowing it came  but has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a very long time.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, here’s an article written by the king of mushrooms himself, Paul Stamets, that was published by the Huffington Post in 2017:  Lion’s Mane: A Mushroom That Improves Your Memory and Mood?

So, we –being, my girlfriend– grew some, and then we harvested, cooked and mowed them down in some butter, garlic and lemon.  I hate mushrooms, but this was dumb fucking good.  I’d seriously eat it every day.  Here is Part One documenting the process.  Enjoy.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

To The Summit of Mount Saint Helens

Trailer for my upcoming VLOG: To The Summit of Mount Saint Helens

Guaranteed to be less impressive than this cinematic masterpiece.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane