Episode 154- Sanjay Rawal: Running as Prayer in "3100: Run and Become"

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Episode 154- Sanjay Rawal: Running as Prayer in "3100: Run and Become"

“Humanity evolves not because of physical need, but because of spiritual need.”

-Sanjay Rawal

To tell a truly compelling story is one of the most difficult challenges. To tell a truly compelling story about the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, an up to 52 day race that takes place around a half mile block in Queens, is even more so. Documentarian Sanjay Rawal was not only able to compellingly tell the story of this race, in his film 3100: Run and Become, but to use the race as a canvas to tell the stories of the Kalahari San Bushmen, the Mt. Hei Monks, and the runners of the Navajo Nation. Sanjay is a wise man who can coherently translate the lessons he’s learned from making this film, and becoming an expert on these various cultures, into a tangible perspective on what they hold for our day to day lives. Traveling the world and becoming immersed in these running cultures has provided Sanjay the intimate understanding that running is not strictly for fitness, competition, or punishment, but that running is a prayer. To share the message that running and spirituality are deeply interconnected, since the dawn of our species, was the mission of the film. Combining the simple act of running and the power of spirituality has always been a focus of mine and so learning from Sanjay was an honor. In today’s episode we delve into the connection between running and spirituality, the making of the film, what we can learn from the stories of the cultures Sanjay covered, how to learn from failure, how to apply the lessons of endurance to day to day life, living truthfully, finding a flow state, humility, using running as a tool for change, and more.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

3100: Run and Become Available Now On Digital!

(iTunes, Google Play, Amazon)

3100film.com

Find Sanjay:
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Twitter: twitter.com/mrsanjayr?lang=en
Facebook: facebook.com/sanjaydrawal

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Episode 153- Edwin "The Jester" Ettinghausen: The Jester Speaks

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Episode 153- Edwin "The Jester" Ettinghausen: The Jester Speaks

“Failure is a state of mind.”

-Edwin Ettinghausen

The ability to endure harsh challenges on a consistent basis and the ability to embrace those harsh challenges as not only an opportunity for growth, but also as plain fun, is a rare combination, but Edwin “The Jester” Ettinghausen has it. Ed is a staple of the ultrarunning scene and is well-accustomed to the art of endurance running: he has run 173 100-mile (or longer) races in his lifetime and in 2014 he ran 41 in a calendar year. Beyond his running ability, Edwin is a wise man who can coherently translate the skills he’s learned in running into daily life and talk about how he does that. In today’s episode we take a wide-ranging approach to delve into all aspects of Edwin’s story, his views on the approaches one should take to challenge, how to overcome failure, learning from the past, engaging with others, and the mindset behind living a life where one betters themselves consistently.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

Find Edwin:
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Twitter: twitter.com/runjesterrun?lang=en
Facebook: facebook.com/ed.ettinghausen

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Episode 152- Preparation is Key

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Episode 152- Preparation is Key

The stressors of life are like a wave: you can easily be pummeled and pulled under. However, you have it within your power to break free of the imprisonment that is caused by allowing yourself to be chained to your stressors and distractions. One of the tools you can employ to break free is preparation. I always say ‘prepare for the future, learn from the past, but live in the present’ and practicing to follow this saying is a daily process. Each week you have the opportunity to prepare for what is to come and, therefore, provide yourself a greater peace of mind. That is what preparation does: provide you confidence in your ability to weather the ebb and flow of life. That confidence, in turn, provides a greater degree of happiness. Listen in as I delve into how to be happier through planning better.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 151- The Adventure, Not the Race

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Episode 151- The Adventure, Not the Race

Sometimes when life does not go in the planned direction that change of course can become a gift, instead of a curse. I have spent the majority of my running career using races as the barometer for my success and ability in running far. This year’s busyness and additional responsibilities helped me to realize that not only is racing not always possible, but sometimes it just isn’t smart. After recently having an upcoming race canceled on me I realized that I should take the time given to me to focus on other aspects of running that I haven’t explored before. The idea of engaging in self-powered adventures, employing a bicycle, my running ability, and possibly even my climbing skills, has always fascinated me. Acknowledging that races are not everything I have made it my mission to focus on those human-powered adventures in the months to come. This focus will allow me to broaden my creative skills in exploring the world around me in new and interesting ways, all from my front door and back again. It is vital that we take the unexpectedness of life and do our best to learn from it. Which is exactly what running has taught me: take it one step at a time.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 150- Consistency is Key!

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Episode 150- Consistency is Key!

By building, and committing to, a routine we teach ourselves how to endure challenging times and be present amongst positive times. Along the wild ride that 150 episodes of this podcast has brought me one of the most important lessons that I have learned is to be consistent. Consistency is applicable to all facets of life and it allows you to build not only your skills at the task at hand, but also yourself. By committing each day to accomplishing activities that positively fulfill you, you are bettering yourself. I would never have been able to reach where I am at in life without the practice of consistency. However, life is a process and you will fail and falter. You will not always be consistent with your tasks, but perfection is not the goal. Being better is the goal and that only comes through taking each step along the journey, as I have done on this podcast, with peace, presence, and perseverance.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 149- On Voting

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Episode 149- On Voting

Due to all of my talk of paradigm breaking one may think that voting would be an aspect of society that I would also have issues with. However, I have found that voting, in and of itself, is a powerful form of paradigm breaking. To me the act of voting is the opportunity to shape the world around you for the better and what, if not that, is paradigm breaking? The established order does not, indeed must not, constantly remain the same and voting is the mechanism through which we, as citizens of this democracy, forge that change. To vote is to use your voice to shatter the status quo. The greatest rebels in history, the Buddha, Jesus, Paul, MLK, Jr., used only their voices to radically change the world for the better. Voting is your opportunity to do the same. Listen in today as I discuss the power of a vote.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 148- Let Your Freak Flag Fly

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Episode 148- Let Your Freak Flag Fly

I have always had a deep fascination with the perimeter of conventional society, the domain of weirdos, rebels, and paradigm breakers. It is not only a fascination, but a lifestyle, because I am very much on the outskirts of “normal” society. The common thread between the various subcultures that I have interacted with on the outskirts, from Comic Con attendees to ultrarunners, is passion. Everyone in these various groups is deeply passionate about their oddity and has surrounded themselves with people who are as well. That support network provides them the platform to let their freak flag fly and, therefore, be themselves. We are complex creatures that cannot, indeed must not, be fit into a singular box by society. Letting our freak flags fly isn’t only life advice, but a social necessity to build a world where we can all work to be our true selves.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 147- Finding Fluidity

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Episode 147- Finding Fluidity

Over the past few weeks, and for a few more weeks to come, I have spent each weekend in places other than San Luis Obispo, where I’m living right now. In other words I have been moving around a lot and in that chaotic environment, coupled with a heavy load of schoolwork, I have been thinking a lot about how I can best find peace in the moment. As a rock climber, cyclist, and runner I have recognized the commonality between the three distinct sports: finding fluidity will make for a much better climb, ride, or run. I realized that that mantra, find fluidity, is not only beneficial to sport, but to daily life as well. It allows us, if we focus on it, to recognize that we must not fight the situation we are in, but work with and learn from it. So listen in today as I discuss the benefits for your personal peace of finding the fluidity in the moment.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 146- The New Surrealists

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Episode 146- The New Surrealists

Throughout my entire life I have been fascinated by the act of shocking people out of their automatic modes of living. As such, I was intrigued by Salvador Dalí’s revolutionary perspectives on morality and society. He was a rebel and the genre of art that he worked under, Surrealism, was as well. Surrealism, Futurism, and Avant-garde are all thought provoking movements on the act of breaking the paradigm. To subvert the status quo is always my goal, to help my peers redefined their perception of what is possible, and those movements have evolved into something wholly unique: a New Surrealism that I believe is led by artists like Marilyn Manson and Megadeth, comedians like Key & Peele, and athletes like Anton Krupicka. A disparate bunch, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they break the paradigm. Blazing our own trails is not only an artistic mission, but an actionable tool for positive societal change and so always remember this: stay true to yourself!

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

Sources:

Artaud, Antonin. “The Theater of Cruelty (First Manifesto).” The Theater and Its Double. Grove Press, 1958, pp. 89-100.
Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. “The Futurist Manifesto.”
Dalí, Salvador. “The Moral Position of Surrealism.”
Fronsdal, Gil. The Dhammapada: a New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations. Shambhala, 2008.
Marilyn Manson. “Disposable Teens.” Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), Nothing Records & Interscope Records, 2000.
Megadeth. “Peace Sells.” Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying, Capitol Records, Inc., 1986.

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Episode 145- Jessica Morey: Meditation for Teens

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Episode 145- Jessica Morey: Meditation for Teens

“A lot of the work is giving enough to get them curious and willing to look inside and see.”

-Jessica Morey

Youth is a nebulous and intimidating concept to some, especially the farther one moves away from it. However, this week’s guest, Jessica Morey, embraces youth, despite the fact she is not one herself anymore, and works to give back. Jessica has spent a lifetime meditating, she began when she was 14, and now spends her days teaching teenagers how to meditate. That fact, coupled with her passion for the task, fascinated me and so I asked her on the show. Teenagers, and young people in general, are a unique group, I know seeing as how I am one, and a group that society typically misunderstands. However, today Jessica and I sit down to go deep into her story, how she found meditation, how teens aren’t as confusing or mysterious as one might think, and that teens too can and do benefit deeply from meditation. I hope our conversation today provides you perspective on what meditation can do for you.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 144- Do Your Own Research

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Episode 144- Do Your Own Research

How do an art & literature Bible class, Robert Browning’s 1842 poem “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister,” and building a steel frame fixie bike with gravel geometry from scratch all relate? Through research, is how. Research is the key component in understanding, interpreting, and/or executing all of these projects and topics. Research for your personal edification is not an intellectual’s pastime, but a vital activity for everyone to become conscientious media consumers. In our world of passionate opinion making, “alternative facts,” and lies from the highest office, it is important to process this onslaught of information using the sieve of your own knowledge. But, that knowledge can only be helpful if it is fueled by multiple perspectives, has a strong foundation, and helps you to become more well-rounded. Listen today as I delve into the process and topic of doing you own research.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 143- Productivity is Not King

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Episode 143- Productivity is Not King

The stories we tell ourselves and each other are reminders on how to be better. That is what I try to achieve each week in this podcast. As I worked this weekend on my various endeavors I slowly, but surely checked off items on the to-do list that I had made for myself. However, that got me to thinking about the near constant reinforcement of the idea that the more you get done the better you are that I see in the media. Our culture is obsessed with productivity and people, too often, invest their happiness in judging how much they have gotten done that day. The more the better, right? Wrong. Happiness does not come from productivity and productivity must not be your prison. When accomplishing tasks, whatever they may be, you must stay present, stay focused, and remember to take a step back from what you do to gain a better perspective. Fall in love with the process, as I always say.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 142- Walking On with New Perspectives

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Episode 142- Walking On with New Perspectives

While I may talk a big talk on this podcast week to week, in reality I am human and I am not perfect. The truth of the matter is that I often allow myself to be controlled by stress and distractions, leading to sometimes calamitous results. On the small and large scale I allow myself to be prisoner to stress, it shaped my emotional wellbeing last year, and it is rare that I have the complete self-awareness to recognize it. I may talk, but I don’t always act. That imperfection is where I can learn, however. It provides me an opportunity to grow, something I will need to do to best enjoy this new school year. Going forward I hope to reshape my perspective into something that supports me, instead of tears me down. Listen in today as I discuss the consequences of my flaws and the perspectives that I must take to learn from and better them.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 141- A Mentor's Follies Are Not Your Own

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Episode 141- A Mentor's Follies Are Not Your Own

There are countless people throughout, and currently in, each of our lives who positively influence us. Those mentors hold a powerful sway on your path and your betterment, but no one is perfect. When those mentors go astray you must realize that their past message, that at one point positively influenced you, still can. Their current mistakes or negativity does not cancel out their past influence. However, the current mistakes or negativity should cause you to let them go and move on, all the while holding dear their message that does influence you to be better.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 140- Remember Cooking?

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Episode 140- Remember Cooking?

Too often we speed through our lives without taking the time to recognize the multitude of opportunities we have available to us to find personal peace. The practice of cooking is one of those opportunities and yet our society has forgotten the importance of cooking at home. Today's episode is a simple reminder of the importance of cooking and eating at home, because it is not only an opportunity for mindful peace and presence, but also an opportunity to fuel your body right. For me, cooking is a metaphor for life, because it allows you to be present amongst each step while workings towards the whole. Let's all remember that.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

Sources:
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639863/
washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/05/the-slow-death-of-the-home-cooked-meal/?utm_term=.1fc0601eb846
Tao Te Ching, trans. Stephen Mitchell

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Episode 139- Crew Your Trail

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Episode 139- Crew Your Trail

In each moment of our lives we each blaze our own personal trail and that trail must be crewed by those who truly have an enlightening influence on you and challenge you to be better. Whether they are friends or family those that surround you must be positive influences on you and your path. If those that surround you are negative influences who hold you back you must make the committed decision to let them go, with compassion, so that you can be better. It will be a difficult process, but one that will, ultimately, free you to live a life even more true, happy, and fulfilled. Today we delve into stories of the benefits of letting go those negative influences and how to embrace the people that truly support you.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Photo Credit: Julie Contreras

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Episode 138- Let's Talk About Tea

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Episode 138- Let's Talk About Tea

Let's talk about tea, because while the US may still be a coffee culture, tea is becoming more popular and is a staple of many people's daily lives. I am an avid tea drinker and have been so for probably longer than I have been a coffee drinker. For me, tea is a much gentler experience and one that provides more overall benefits than coffee. One of the main attributes of tea that I love is the fact that it can so easily be a positive personal ritual, an active meditation, that benefits me each time I take the time to focus on the process. Today I make the case that tea can and should be an active meditation for all of us to center us in the moment. Join me as I delve into tea's vibrant history and its numerous positive and negative health effects. I hope we can all be better from this discussion.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

Sources:
tea.co.uk/tea-a-brief-history
mightyleaf.com/history-of-tea
nam.ac.uk/explore/opium-war-1839-1842
nytimes.com/2015/10/06/upshot/what-the-evidence-tells-us-about-tea.html
livestrong.com/article/414169-the-health-dangers-of-tea/

Music: purple-planet.com

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Episode 137- Let's Talk About Coffee

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Episode 137- Let's Talk About Coffee

Let's talk about coffee. The wonder drug of our society and a staple of most our daily rituals. To me it seems that coffee is so readily available and commonly used that we don't think much about it, at least I don't. After many years of coffee consumption I've recently done some thinking on my, and society's, relationship with coffee. As I look around me day to day I see so many people who live in a state of fatigue and use coffee to temporarily drag themselves out of it. However, I believe that coffee must be used as an added bonus to our day, for its flavor and energetic properties, but not as a crutch. To combat our state of fatigue, and shift into living in a state of energy, we must learn to listen to our bodies and respond intelligently. That intelligence only comes by equipping ourselves with the right knowledge of how to treat our bodies as machines and temples. So listen in to today's episode as I delve into the lush history of coffee, its scientific benefits and drawbacks, and how we can all redefine our relationship with coffee to learn to listen our bodies.

Gracias,

Jarod Contreras

Sources:
ncausa.org/About-Coffee/History-of-Coffee
historyextra.com/period/medieval/history-coffee-facts-discovery-use-drink-social-revolution/
africaresource.com/house/news/our-announcements/21-the-history-of-coffee
etymonline.com/word/coffee
healthline.com/health/caffeine-effects-on-body#1
medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271707.php

Music: purple-planet.com

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Episode 136- Don't Beat Yourself Up

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Episode 136- Don't Beat Yourself Up

As humans we constantly have ups and downs. Whether those ups and downs are emotional or physical, we feel them each day. Over the past few weeks I have, quite honestly, been feeling down. It is not constant nor overwhelming, but I have noticed a distinct shift in my mental wellbeing towards the negative. The main reason I believe that shift has occurred is because I feel like my business and sport endeavors have come to a sort of stand still. That perception of staleness is only a matter of perspective, I know, but it is still difficult to walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk of betterment. I have realized that one of the key ways I can work through and with these feelings is through not beating myself up about how I feel. Instead, I must listen to my body, work with it, and learn from it. As such, I hope that you can learn from these musings that I share today. 

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 135- On Hobbies

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Episode 135- On Hobbies

There are many aspects of our day to day lives that we take for granted or simply don't think about. Over the past few weeks, as I have been working to manage my fatigue and injuries, I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I spend my time each day. For any of us, what we do with our time each day must be things that are positive and fulfilling, that better us. One of those things, something I have refocused on recently, are hobbies. Having a hobby may seem childish, pointless, or just not possible to some, but I posit in today's episode that hobbies are vital aspects of building a peaceful mental headspace and a truly fulfilling life. Hobbies have a multitude of benefits that contribute to becoming a more well-rounded human being. They can become part of our process of personal betterment and presence, if we let them. Listen today as I delve into hobbies and how you can find and focus on yours.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Photo: Panther at King Tut exhibit in the California Science Center

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