Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Who is Keenan Cornelius?

In this week's edition of Men Who Say Stupid Things, I give you Ralek Gracie, president of Metamoris. http://www.mmafighting.com/2015/4/12/8316949/metamoris-interested-in-ronda-rousey-but-claims-financial-realities.

When asked whether the popular PPV grappling tournament was planning on signing more females, he replied with this brilliant gem: "It's absolutely not a joke who ends up on the card. With every match, there has to be a unique story and there has to be an element that will bring out people from all walks of life in a lot of ways. Even though we know the core audience and what they're interested in, we have to constantly be on the boundaries. We have to be constantly pushing the edge of what our viewership is, otherwise we won't survive. All we're doing is reinvesting all of our money into these athletes. We're spinning a wheel. We have to keep the wheel moving. I just don't think there's women who are really going to bring it on that level."

He then went on to state: ""We had that one match (speaking about Mackensie Dern and Michell Nicolini in Metamoris 2) and it was cool, but that was more of, 'That's cool and that was interesting and I want to see that again if the girls are cute.' "

Sigh.
Two of the best female grapplers in the world compete, exhibit superior jiu-jitsu skills, and you would do it again "If the girls are cute"?

I get it. Metamoris is a business. They are about making money. They want fights that people will pay to see. They want big name UFC guys on their card so they can get more MMA fans to watch. Not the MMA fans who know about martial arts, but the ones in the back of the bar talking about their knockout skills and how they would like to "mount" Meisha Tate. They want those guys. So yeah you get Chael Sonnen on your card cause everyone knows his name. And then, since you are fully aware of your actual paying audience, you go ahead and sign up Keenan Cornelius.

Who the hell is Keenan Cornelius?

Go ahead, go to the sports bar down the block on Saturday night, ask around, and then report back to me the number of blank stares you get. UFC fans have no idea who he is, anymore than they know who the Miyao brothers are or who Gabi Garcia is, or how many Gracie brothers it takes to change a lightbulb. Do you know who has heard of Keenan Cornelius? The same people who actually buy Metamoris. Grapplers. 
Who IS this handsome man???
Most of the people who pay to watch your product are the same ones who pay for memberships to BJJ gyms and dojos all across the world. They know all about the silly worm guard, they know what a Berimbolo is, and they may even know where Mr. Cornelius used to train and why he left.  They also know who Michelle Nicolini is and would be just as happy to watch her attempt to choke someone out as some guy. Because good jiu-jitsu is good jiu-jitsu.

Relek Gracie may be trying to gain new fans for his PPV events, but he is also fully aware of who the current ones are. Hence, Keenan Cornelius. So why not have a female black belt match? It certainly won't lose you fans and may even gain you a few more ladies who train.

We are not afterthoughts. We are not cute little dolls who occasionally break a sweat but mostly just look sexy in gi pants and a suggestively open top. We are athletes who put in hours on the mats working our escapes and sweeps and submissions. We tape up our fingers and our toes, we sweat, we bleed, we cry and yes, we even let our hair get all messy and WE DON'T CARE BECAUSE WE ARE GRAPPLERS!

There are little girls out there right now tying on their belts for jiu-jitsu class. They train just like the boys and they deserve some real role models to watch. 

Of course, we can always just spend our money elsewhere. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Problem With This Guy

There is an article floating around the Internet this week about why marriage "no longer works" for the current crop of twenty-somethings. Here it is http://www.app.com/story/life/family/relationships/2015/04/06/reasons-marriage-just-work-anymore/25349495/

It is not a terrible article, really. He makes some good points about the importance of actual human connection; talking rather than texting, enjoying the moment instead of just posting pics of it. He also complains about the lack of exciting sex in a marriage and the stress of accumulating bills as if he is the first person to experience this. And then he pretty much blames social media for the failure of relationships. 

He is not totally clueless. But the problem I see over and over with this guy's generation is this constant sense of being wronged. As if the world is out to get them. As if their struggles are always something that has been inflicted on them, instead of a result of the choices they have made. As if they were the first human beings ever to have stress. 

Yes it is true that things cost more nowadays. But this? "This strain causes separation between us. It halts us from being able to live life. We're too busy paying bills to enjoy our youth. Forget going to dinner, you have to pay the mortgage. You'll have to skip out on an anniversary gift this year because those student loans are due at the end of the month. Vacations? Not happening."

Whine whine whine. Wait, you mean you can't afford to do whatever you want, whenever you want?? Welcome to adult life, buddy! Yes, you have to pay bills and sometimes you would rather go to Aruba. So you make choices. You have times of the month where you go out and other times where you cook Ramen noodles at home in your bathrobe. It called adulthood. And yeah if your version of "living life" can be encapsulated into buying dinner, buying gifts and buying vacation, you are certainly not going to be happy all the time. How about you "enjoy your youth" by going for a nice walk in the park with your wife instead of whining about all the bills you have to pay. Walking is free. Or how about you find a passion that is not simply a cliche of adult life? Go play chess or learn how to paint or take Judo or play your guitar on a bench somewhere. Go invent something new. Isn't your generation supposed to be all about going against the status quo? Well then stop trying so hard to be "normal."

And the sex thing? "Everywhere you look, there's pictures of men and women we know half naked — some look better than your husband or wife. So it becomes desirable. It's in your face every single day and changes your mindset." 

Seriously?? You see photos of pretty people on Facebook and suddenly sex with your wife is not so exciting? Did you not know there were other people in the world before the Internet existed? Women with boobs and asses and legs? Do you think you are the first man in the world to have to avoid temptation? You poor, poor baby. It turns out that there is a bit more to a sexual relationship than the thrill of someone new. There is learning about each other and growing with each other. There is being so comfortable with someone that you can try anything. There is sex that is more than just physical. There is sex that is about both of you feeling sad, sex that is celebratory, sex that is angry, and the sleepy, cozy sex that occurs first thing in the morning. And yes, there are days where you have to schedule it around work and child care, and yes even days when you aren't in the mood. Again, welcome to adulthood. Shut up!

But the thing that annoyed me most about this guy's article is the social media thing. I am SOOO sick of people blaming Facebook for their misery. Facebook is a choice. Let me say it again, in case you were too busy updating your status to hear me. 
FACEBOOK
IS 

CHOICE!
Social media has exactly as much power over your life as you give it, and not an inch more. It is not something being done to you. It is not something the world has inflicted upon you. You have to actually log in to the website to use it. 

If all those photos of your friends on the beach are making you feel bad, stop looking at them. 
If you are tired of all your conversations involving a touch screen, then make a phone call, or even better, go meet a friend for coffee somewhere.
If you feel like you are missing the moment, PUT YOUR DAMN PHONE AWAY!
No one is forcing you to post photos of your dinner.
No one is forcing you to "check-in" everywhere you go.
Your plane tickets do not come with a minimum status update requirement and it may come as a shock to you but it is actually possible to go on vacation and not document it on Facebook. 

Listen Anthony, I am sorry you are not happy with your life. But don't blame it on your "generation." Don't blame it on the world we live in now. If you don't like things, stop whining and do something about it. All those things you want; a fulfilling career, a happy relationship, enjoyable leisure time, ALL of them require getting off your butt and actually DOING something. 

Stop complaining that the world owes you a favor. 
Go out there and change the world instead. 

Of course you might have to get off of Twitter to do so.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Zombies and Chocolate

For my daughter, Easter Sunday means candy. So this morning she climbed out of bed at 7 like it was Christmas, found her Easter basket on the table, and unpacked some art supplies and a chocolate bunny which she tried to convince me was a fine thing to eat for breakfast. (The bunny, not the crayons.)

She also wanted to dye and hide eggs, something we have done since Maya was two. It is a task that is complicated by the fact that we own a dog who likes to play too. She (the dog, not Maya) will find and eat whole eggs, shell and all, so we need to pick hiding spots that are low enough for a kid to see but high enough that Chloe can't immediately snatch them. 

We are not Christians. (We are not Jews either, although I do like to occasionally snack on matzo. ) But I have a kid who likes to question things so I am often asked to explain the meaning of one holiday or another. "So there was this Jesus guy who tried to get people to be good to each other. And some people didn't like him so they killed him. But then something magical happened and on Easter Sunday he rose from the dead. Yes, like a zombie."

(You should have heard me completely botch the story of Hannukah.)

To a non believer, the story of Easter is an odd and somewhat violent, fairy tale. But the ever-wise Glennon of Momastery.com has managed to extract a lesson that even the most militant of atheists can appreciate.  

"Because no matter how dark it is now: you will rise again. That’s the way of the world. That’s the message of Easter.
Friday = Life Hurts Like Bloody Hell.
Sunday = BUT LOVE WINS"

I don't believe in the Easter Bunny and I don't believe that a man can rise from the dead, no matter how long and luxurious his hair was. But I am a fan of this rising thing. Go ahead nail me to a cross. I will get up anyway. Take that, haters!

Glennon's  entire post can be found here: http://momastery.com/blog/2015/04/03/easter-story/
It is mostly about her marriage, but you can just cut and paste in whatever thing you may be struggling with. The message is the same.

Happy Easter/Passover/Eat a Cadbury Cream Egg for Breakfast Day
Happy Spring!

Happy Rising.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fun

See that bear over there? Look how much fun he is having rolling in the grass! Have you ever seen bear cubs wrestle? They look just like 5 year olds at the playground, tumbling all over each other, not a care in the world. I am not saying that the cute bear over there wouldn't eat my foot if he got the chance. But look at him! He is like a newborn baby sucking his thumb, only furry! With claws.

This time, two years ago, two fantastic karatekas named Russell and Desi, were testing for their 5th degree black belts. One year ago, Matthew and I were doing the same. And since it is mid-March again, today we begin another black belt promotion. 

There are no higher ranking candidates this time, just a few shodans and nidans from the Brooklyn dojo, and two advanced brown belts, one from the Brooklyn school and one from ours.

There is no shortage of martial arts media on the Internet. If you are so inclined, you can browse through hundreds of Facebook memes that quote the old masters. You can read technical articles on how to kick harder. You can watch inspirational videos full of powerful knockouts. Everyone who trains brags about the hard of it all, the challenges, the wars, the blood, sweat and tears. Each one of us has a sparring tale. (Or two. Or ten.) We are all, myself included, supremely proud of the horror stories, the times we almost gave up but didn't. It is what made us who we are today.

There is no better place to showcase all this struggle than at black belt promotion. Challenging combinations. Tons of pushups. Performing beautiful kata that flows like a river. Giving a speech in front of a roomful of black belts. Over two hours of sparring. It is hard, and it is supposed to be. The hard makes that moment you get your belt tied on all that much sweeter.

But it is also supposed to be fun. Kyoshi Desi, one of the men who received his Kyoshi rank two years ago, is fast and strong and extremely focused. He is also always smiling. Kyoshi Russell, the other candidate, is a very talented student and teacher who will learn from and train with almost anyone. He just loves training, period. 

Our advanced brown belt student is named Adri. He is young and athletic and strong. He knows his Kenshikai material like the back of his fist. (Uraken!) His kata is beautiful and when he spars it is like watching a very cunning spider spin a web. But what is equally important, in my opinion anyway, is that he truly LOVES karate. He loves to train, he loves to teach, he loves the dojo with a passion not that different from what a mother feels for her child.  Every time he steps onto the floor, you can tell he is having the time of his life.  

Good luck to all the promotion candidates this week. Work hard. Don't give up. You got this! 

But most of all, have fun. Enjoy it! It is not just supposed to be a war, it is supposed to be a game too.





Friday, February 27, 2015

An Open Letter to My Body

Dear Body,
Let me start this off by saying that I love you. I mean sure, I wouldn't mind being a C cup, or perhaps a few inches taller, but that does not take away from my appreciation for all that you have done for me. You helped me grow and then push out a beautiful baby girl. You were strong enough to get me through multiple sparring classes and karate promotions and training sessions. You are durable and powerful and you look fairly decent in a tank top. And although no one would ever mistake you for a supermodel, you are pulling off this athletic but cute look quite successfully. So for that, I thank you.

We've been through a lot together you and I. Remember that high ranking black belt who used to regularly attend Friday night fight classes? You know the one who would get into his little fight zone where he would just keep punching you, not noticing how small and completely FEMALE you were , or how you were struggling, or that the bell had rung five minutes ago. In truth, he may have been a bit crazy, that guy.


I am sorry for him.

And body, while we are being honest with each other, I am sorry for Wednesday too. I am sorry that I let you roll with that guy.  I know he was only a blue belt, and an average one at that. He was not that much bigger than you. And he was a very friendly, helpful guy. But I still knew, without a doubt in my mind, that if I rolled with him I was going to hurt myself.
You. Us, I was going to hurt us. 

I did it anyway. I felt bad leaving him without a partner to roll with. And I wanted to train more. And to be honest, there was a little part of me that was actually looking forward to a round where I knew I had to protect you. Where no one else was going to do it for me. Isn't that what all this training is about?

It is an interesting feeling going into a BJJ round certain that you are going to get injured. I managed to keep us from being randomly elbowed in the nose, having an arm hyper-extended on an overly aggressive arm bar, and I tapped instantly to a gi choke that was clearly destined to cut our windpipe in half. The whole time I am pretty sure this nice dude thought he was going light. Who knows, maybe he was, for him? In any case, at one point he tried to get the mount, I twisted hard to my side to avoid it and felt a little pop. Then that little pop turned into a dull ache and then a sharp pain that made further twisting impossible. So I stopped rolling, explained that I was nursing an injury, and thanked him for the training session. Then I took a taxi home and you and I curled up with an ice pack.

I am not mad at that dude. It wasn't his fault. The truth is, friend, I am beginning to wonder if we are not cut out for this BJJ thing. If perhaps you are just too damn small. (Sorry, I know that's harsh.) I mean I have been trying to do it right, to use technique and brains and skill. And sometimes I really feel like we are making progress. But at least once a week someone who I know I am better than just totally smashes on top of you. Some days we are just stuck on the bottom and these dudes (and sometimes even the ladies) are so damn heavy and spazzy and speedy and my brain is not good enough yet to counter their strength or their size or their 22 year old athleticism. In truth, sometimes they are terrible at jiu-jitsu, they are all elbows and knees and heavy breathing, yet I still end up stuck on the bottom.

I am sorry about your neck last year. About the MRI and the physical therapy and the constant whining. And I am sorry about your rib on Wednesday. I am sorry I didn't listen to my instincts and sit out of that round, even though he was just another nice guy who never learned how to go slow.  I am sorry I couldn't protect you better. I am sorry about this whole BJJ thing. Especially since I plan to keep doing this torture to you. Indefinitely. 

I know I should have picked Yoga. Or curling. No one ever injures themselves in curling.

So I guess what I am really sorry for is being stubborn as all hell, for knowing that you and I are not so good at this jiu-jitsu thing but insisting on continuing with it anyway. I know that you are not getting any bigger. But maybe someday, the brain part of me will get smart enough where it will no longer matter.

Not today. Or tomorrow.
But someday. 

So here is an ice pack and some more Advil. 
Just bear with me, ok?
With love,
Jenn

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I Deserve

It is that time of year again. No, not the weary end of winter exhaustion, although I will admit to groaning out loud while brushing snow off the car window again last night. But that whining is for another post. March is coming. Time to once again write about promotion.

Whenever this subject comes up, there are people who get a little uncomfortable. This is because in many traditional dojos, belt advancement is not something you talk about. You are supposed to just keep showing up to class and when your instructor thinks you are ready for a new belt, he or she will invite you to attend the next promotion. Asking him about it is unheard of and unacceptable. 

Of course, there are a million different styles of martial arts and a million different ways to do promotion. I described a few of them in this post awhile back: http://mamommyarchives.blogspot.com/2014/09/new-belts-for-all.html. Some places count classes. Some martial arts, like karate, have a clear syllabus for each rank. Some schools base it completely on performance in competition. 

Having so many different philosophies leads to much debate about whether or not a student "deserves" his or her rank. Lets say my school promotes white belts after 60 classes. What happens if you have taken your 60 classes but I can consistently "beat" you in class? And what if promotion is based on performance but I am smaller than everyone, or older, or have some kind of physical limitation. If I am unlikely to ever tap out any of the giant white belts in class, does that mean I should never get a blue belt? 

This debate goes on and on. What about the black belt who is 70 years old? What about the young super athlete who can out-muscle everyone in the room? What about the student who comes to class 7 days a week for years but just learns things a bit slower than everyone else? What about awarding children adult black belts? What about the one woman in a class full of bigger, stronger men? What about high ranking "sensei" who never teach? And so on and so forth. If martial arts is about fighting, than shouldn't the ones who win all the fights be the highest ranked? And if martial arts is about knowledge, than shouldn't we just give belts to the students who have memorized the most techniques? Don't even get me started on the money issue, those schools where you can sign up for the "black belt club" on day one and so long as your checks don't bounce you are guaranteed to get there in 3 years.

It is nearly impossible to identify a "best practice" when martial arts systems are so varied. What works for a karate dojo may not work for a BJJ school or a judo club. Besides, an argument could be made that wondering whether or not a student "deserves" their rank is missing the point entirely. 

What is a black belt to me? Someone who has committed multiple years to the study of a martial art. Someone who shows a high level of proficiency and knowledge. Someone who gives back, either by teaching classes or simply by encouraging lower belts when they need it, which is often. Someone who cares about the world and the people around them and contributes to the good in it. Do I expect a black belt to win every bar fight? No, I couldn't care less. Rather, I expect them to be a person I would not mind having a drink with. 

Furthermore, assuming you (or I) could accurately assess the worthiness of every student who receives a new belt at promotion time is not only extremely arrogant, it is blatantly disrespectful to the teacher. I train at a BJJ school where belt advancement is usually a surprise and the criteria for promotion is a mystery. I have no idea what goes through my instructor's mind when he decides to give someone a new belt, but I assume it is based on something. I assume there was a thought process in there somewhere. I trust he knows what he is doing and when and if I ever get a purple belt it will be because he thinks I am ready to be a purple belt. Period.

In contrast, I promote one of my little white belts (or many of them) to blue belt every two months. Some of them have simply taken the "right" number of classes, a milestone that we decided on many years ago. Some of them are the "Hermione Grangers" of the dojo who can perform every move perfectly and answer every question on command. Some of them cannot remember a thing, and do not know their right from their left, but at the time of promotion they can stand still for a full five minutes, a feat that when they first joined seemed as impossible as winning the marathon. 

They all really, really love karate. 

So who "deserves" to be promoted? People who train. The students who come to class whenever they can and try their best to learn and improve every time they are there. 

Who does not "deserve" it?
The ones who quit.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Month I Thought I Had Cancer

There is this post that I wanted to write. I had already composed part of it in my mind, and even started writing it last Monday while waiting for the "potentially historic" snowstorm to hit NYC. In my mind (and on this laptop), I was already bragging about my newfound "zen-ness", the fact that I did not care that three feet of snow was about to be dumped upon our city. I was not anxious about the travel ban, or the complete shutdown of the subway, or the fact that I waited in line for half an hour to buy a box of pasta and some hot cocoa. No, I was above all that. I was going to let this storm just roll off my back, so to speak. No refreshing weather.com. No watching Di Blasio insist over and over again that this was going to be snow like we had never seen before. Not me. I was far too enlightened.

But none of that happened.

I do not mean the storm never happened, although that too was true. (It turned out that the so-called "Blizzard of 2015" was just as big a failure as my meditative bliss. We got a foot of snow here. But we got to go sledding, which was awesome!) I mean that some time around Monday afternoon, stuck in the house with not much to do, I went on Facebook. Which led to checking the weather report again. And then, while trying to watch regular Monday night television, there was Di Blasio once again warning us to not, under any circumstances, ever, GO OUTSIDE!!!! 

So yeah, I was a little tense. For nothing. Again.

But all that is besides the point. The reason I had been all excited to live and let live is because of the news I received Monday morning.

Here is the short version. Remember the itchy ears? The ones that prompted a visit to the ENT doc? My ears were fine. But that simple checkup resulted in a sonogram of my thyroid, which when the results finally came back, resulted in the discovery of a few "nodules", which the doctor said were most likely benign but I could do a biopsy on the larger one "just in case". Then the doctor went on a week long vacation. 

Seriously, he did. When he came back I went into his office where he proceeded to stick a long, thin needle into my neck. He sent it to a lab. I went to the dojo to teach kids class.

You know what's fascinating? That the rest of the world just keeps on going. While you are waiting for biopsy results, the rest of the world just keeps on being its normal damn self.   You  ride the subway. Walk the dog. Have sex. Teach karate. It doesn't make sense that all these people are commuting to work. Aren't they all waiting for a phone call too??

To be honest, there was some comfort in that. The doctor may or not call. Tumors will be malignant or benign or entirely inconclusive.  And meanwhile there will still be kids to teach karate to. And lunch to eat. And a daughter to care for. And a husband to love. And it is not so much that I must do these things but that I can. I do not have to just sit there and wait for my phone to ring.

The doctor said he would call on Friday. But he didn't. So I waited at the dojo. Occasionally I would call Matthew to tell him something completely unrelated to cancer, and I would start the conversation with "He didn't call yet. Do you know where the laundry detergent is?" "He didn't call yet. Do you want the other half of my tuna melt."

I wanted to be all "whatever happens, happens." But I wasn't. It was a looooong day. When I was finally done teaching my classes, I called the doctor's office but he had already left for the day. 

I suppose I should pause this dramatic story to tell you that thyroid cancer is both very rare, and very treatable. It is slow to progress, rarely spreads, and can usually be "cured" just by removing part or all of the thyroid. I actually know a couple of people who have no thyroids. You take medicine for the rest of your life. I am not trying to belittle what they went through, I am sure it was still pretty awful. It is still cancer. It is still surgery. There are risks. Sometimes it takes a long time to get the medicine levels right. All I am saying is that if you absolutely have to have cancer, thyroid is one of the better ones to have. 

On Sunday night, while everyone else was planning their snow days, I was thinking. "Oh crap. My ENT doc is 75 years old (literally). There is no way he is going to come to work if we get 30 inches of snow. He may stay home all week just to be safe! And I do not have his home number!"

When you are waiting to find out if you have cancer, it helps to keep a sense of humor. Matthew and I had a running series of jokes that involved the most insensitive way the doctor could break the news. They included things like "Good news Jennifer. You do not need to take any more tests. You have CANCER!" and "Raise your hand if you do not have cancer....not so fast, Jennifer."

You get the point.

I called his office around 9:30 Monday morning. Our conversation went like this. 
Him: "Good news. Your nodule thing is a benign gobbledygook-medical term-something goiter." Me: "Um can you just say NOT CANCER?" 

The doctor recommended I have my "not cancer" checked periodically to make sure it is not growing, impacting my thyroid levels, or being otherwise annoying. Sometimes these things go away, sometimes they stay the same, and sometimes they poke at you in uncomfortable ways and have to eventually be removed. 

Whatever, I am off to jiu-jitsu. Life affirming jiu-jitsu, where someone can grab me, toss me around and wrap my gi around my...thyroid. Hmm.... 

Fuckit, its not cancerous! Choke away!

Last month, somewhere between the sonogram and the biopsy, I took my daughter to Madison Square Garden to see the Fresh Beat Band in concert. Most of the adults looked as if they were barely holding on to their sanity, but every few rows there was a mom bobbing her head as if she were reliving her NKOTB youth. And three rows in front of us was superdad. Superdad had two young daughters and he was dancing with them as if he were tying to win a million dollars. And smiling. And laughing. And clearly having the time of his life.

I loved that concert. I danced with my little girl and sang along to Marina and Kiki and Twist and Shout (not only do I know their names but I know ALL the lyrics) and at one point even got a little choked up. (To be fair the song was "This little light of mine". Who can stay dry eyed listening to children singing about letting their light shine??) Maya is seven. There are only so many more years where she will actually want to go to a concert with her mother. And while looking around the theater at all those families I realized that I was really, really happy to be a mommy.

I know all the cliches. Life is short. You never know when your time will be up. You never know what surprise is going to come around the corner. So we gotta enjoy the moments. Not sweat the small things. Let go of those things we cannot control.

For one hour on that Saturday evening, I managed to do just that. 
And then the "blizzard" came.

Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly, thoroughly, one hundred percent thankful to not have cancer. I could not be happier. Other people are not so lucky. But I guess I expected to wake up transformed. To no longer care if the subway stops between stations or the car gets stuck in traffic. To not care if we get 6 inches of snow or two feet. To be happy in my warm apartment, on my cozy couch with my wonderful family and to never ever worry about stupid minor things again.

Hence my smug "I don't care about you Di Blasio" blog post. The one that never happened because it turned out that actually I was a little worried about the travel ban. Because it turned out that even with completely benign test results I was still just me.

I am sure there are plenty of people who have moments in life that truly and magically change how they see the world. The rest of us, we actually have to work at it. 

So what did I learn from the month I thought I had cancer? That being in the moment requires actually being in the moment. That if you want to stop obsessively Googling medical facts you have to actually put your phone away. That yes it is true that life will throw you curveballs, things that you cannot prepare for and cannot control. And yes, you will get through them. But if you want to actually enjoy the time when things are good you have to make a conscious choice to do so. It takes work. 

Or at least it does for me. I have to treat mindfulness the same way I treat rear naked chokes. I have to train at it. 

But that's ok. I am good at training.

By the way, we are expecting more snow here in NYC. I do not know how much. I didn't check the weather reports.

Ok, I lied. I checked. Once. I checked once. But only so I could know what to wear to jiu-jitsu tomorrow.