Thursday, October 4, 2007
Examiner ... examine thyself
I wanted to take the occasion of things being really busy in the office to digress a wee bit. We've talked about calibrating your equipment and managing your work flow in previous posts. In future posts we'll touch on the issue of balance in images. In this post, I want to turn the lens of examination inward. What does that mean, you might ask? We take great care of our equipment, but do we treat ourselves with the same affection?
Years ago, I had a client who ran one the most successful speakers' bureaus in the world. She, herself, was a pioneer in the field and a best selling author. Dottie Walters recently passed away, leaving an incredible legacy to her grandson, Michael MacFarlane, who had been competently running the business as Vice President as Dottie's health failed. Working with Dottie and Michael as a contractor, I handled their web sites as well as developing a web presence for some of their speaking clients. One of these clients was Karl LaRowe.
I built one of Karl's first web sites and got to know him and his business. Then, as time passed, he wanted to handle his own site so I wished him well and handed it over to him ...
Fast forward to 2001. I've started with the LAPD and began to establish the Forensic Video Lab. Equipment is ordered from Ocean Systems and Boxx and arrives in 2002. I start working cases; in the beginning it was just me. Fast forward again to 2005 ... After hundreds of cases and tens of thousands of images of some of the most vile and violent acts, I am starting to have trouble sleeping. I am also having some other symptoms that I would later be told was PTSD.
One the biggest things that law enforcement image/video analysts get subjected to is something called Vicarious Trauma. Our department is really good about counselling and whatnot, but their remedy wasn't helping, mainly because I was still doing the very thing that caused the trauma in the first place.
Out of the blue, Karl sends me a note. His webmaster has moved on and he needed some advice. Remembering what he did, I asked him about PTSD and how his Flow Motion worked. He sent me his book and my life has never been the same. As I began to work with his Flow Motion exercises, the changes in me were subtle at first. I kept with it. Later I added QiGong into the mix. I have been amazed with the results. Just like many of us (myself included) take vitamins daily, I now have Flow Motion and QiGong as part of my daily routine. Needless to say, the PTSD symptoms are gone.
Keeping along the balance theme, as all of the PTSD stuff was happening, I weighed 29 stone. I was finishing up a championship career as a caber tosser and didn't need the bulk anymore. When I had left for college at 17 to play football, I was 20 stone. I wanted to get back into that shape again. I joined the California Blue Knights of the National Public Safety Football League. I figured that playing football again would be a fun way to get back into shape. At 1.98m and 29 stone, they were glad to have me.
I played my first season with them (2005) at Tackle and at 29 stone. We won a few games, but had a losing season. The Blue Knights had never had a winning season in the NPSFL, which is very competitive. I decided to lose some weight and move to guard. I lost four and a half stone in the off season and felt great. I entered the season at Guard and we were winning. We had a really great team for the 2006 season. Then, in a game against LA Fire, I got clipped and burst my right MCL. We had a winning season, but my knee was toast.
How do you work out and stay in shape with a busted knee? Why should I still be 25 stone if I wasn't playing sports? What to do?
Enter Matt Furey. I found Matt Furey's site by accident. I remembered that when I was younger, I had the hardest time keeping weight on when I was wrestling. It had been over 20 years since I wrestled so I was a bit foggy on the workouts and how to do them properly. I did a Google search for wrestling workouts and found Matt's site. I saw his book on conditioning and ab work and stretching and knew that this was for me. I bought Combat Conditioning first. Then I bought Combat Abs. I poured over these books and tried all of the exercises. I worked the in with my daily Flow Motion and QiGong until I found "my workout." Now that I have "my workout," the pounds have flown off.
People at my gym are amazed at how many Hindu Squats I can do. They are equally amazed that a man of my size, now 19 stone, can literally bend over backwards and hold a bridge position for minutes on end. My workout stretches and strengthens all of my muscles over the course of about an hour. I can do this workout anywhere as it doesn't require any equipment. I have used it to rehab my knee to as good as it can possibly get without surgery.
Breathing, stretching ... focus ... balance. I now have a way to prevent PTSD, to shield against vicarious trauma, and to feel in complete control of my life. I have examined myself completely and found what works. I have used the power of my rational mind, what Dr. Maxwell Maltz calls Psycho-Cybernetics, to solve my problems myself ... without gimmicks and without medications.
I hope that you don't mind this little digression. My hope is that you can understand a little better about the process and life's balance by seeing a little bit about how I got here and who helped me along the way. Karl LaRowe, Matt Furey, Dr. Maltz, Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang, and of course ... my family, have all played a valuable part in making this all a reality. My eternal gratitude is extended to them all. If you are struggling with PTSD, seek help. You are not alone. If you need to lose weight, start now. There is always a way to do it. If you can't sort it out for yourself, others are there to help show you the way, just as they have been for me. Ours is a tight-knit community and helping each other is what this blog is about. If you want to know more, feel free to contact me or anyone mentioned in this blog.
Be well ...