Update

Howdy.

I had to launch an author’s website, www.davidguba.com, so between than, writing, and school, I haven’t been focusing on ABA. My apologies.

Today is my 1-year anniversary of leaving the military, or as I call it, when I was promoted from American Sergeant to English Major. I don’t regret leaving the service. I am still disappointed the AF didn’t pay me to get out and take that job I landed in Hawaii. If I had gotten out, though, I never would have gone to Utah, which I loved.

I did some travel last week, to Detroit for a training class. I did some travel and photography, which you can view on my  Instagram. I wasn’t able to get good pics, but I went to a hardcore show. Bloodclot features Jon Joseph from the Cro-Mags, Nick from Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age, and Todd Youth. They played well, opening for Negative Approach. The audience didn’t crowdkill/hardcore dance, favoring a more traditional circle pt/push moshing. I had fun with it, twerking, pirouetting, making alligator jaws with my arms. I miss hardcore.

I’m taking some vacation time this week-we all need to catch up on sleep, and I’m looking forward to getting my nutrition back on track. Yoga, jiu jitsu, crossfit, maybe a few Muay Thai sessions if I can swing it.

I found out I have 2 more semesters to finish my degree than I thought, but that’s okay. It means I’ll start my Master’s a month later. Whatever.

What’s up with you?

 


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Day 14: Warrior II

My back pain flared up recently. I have sciatica and a few herniated disks in my lower back, and arthritis in my mid back. I decided to confront it instead of just being in pain or medicating.

I’ve found some stretches that work, and Muay Thai. I’ve done a few classes here and there over the years, but I haven’t been able to really pursue it due to scheduling. I was worried the rotational nature of the kicks would aggravate my back. It hasn’t, but it has had the benefit of loosening up my exterior and frontal hip muscles, which contribute to pain and immobility. I’ve been really drained in jiu jitsu, especially working takedowns. My hips have been weak, and MT has helped my athletic stamina for BJJ.

In addition to minding my posture and stretching every hour, I’ve been trying to do yoga several times a week. The other day, I was able to bend forward from the waist more than I could in years, and was feeling great. I cam almost do a perfect downward-facing dog now. I went into Warrior 2, and the instructor said “say something positive and affirming about yourself”. Without thinking, I calmly said “I AM a fucking warrior”. I was stunned for a second, then I smiled, because even though it’s kind of corny, I know it’s true.

The past few months have been a period of transition, and I haven’t had much of a routine to speak of. Taking the time to ground myself and be intentional with my time has been hugely beneficial, physically and mentally.

I was talking to a friend who had started seeking mental health services. He was worried he was making a big deal out of nothing, or too sensitive. He’s also in the military, and there’s still a stigma about seeking help. He asked a few coworkers about it, and a few thought he was just being whiny. I pointed out that the people he asked are 1) men and 2) military members. We are cultured to ignore feelings and get the job done. When my mom was dying 10 years ago, I feel I shouldered a lot of the administrative burden of managing the details. I had to. I promised myself I would process it later, so I could take care of business. I thought I was acting out of strength, or being tough, but it was a reaction of fear. I was unwilling to process my emotions and thoughts head on, and packed them away. In not dealing with it, I was being a coward. It blew up years later.

That’s not what warriors do. Sometimes you do have to keep moving forward, but you also need to make sure all your gear and faculties are battle-ready. This includes mental health, diet, sleep. Everything.

Being a warrior doesn’t mean being perfect. Namaste, fuckers.

 

 

Day 11: Revisiting My Do-Over

About 6 months ago I declared a do-over. I decided that the direction my life was going sucked, and I wanted to live differently. I think I’ve largely done so.

About a year ago I became interested in entrepreneurship. I listened to podcasts, read books, watched videos, and I was pumped. I never found an idea that was it, but I didn’t actively pursue it. I just trawled, hoping to stumble upon an innovative business concept. I think I’m ready to revisit that. I’d like to offer a good or service which is useful, and improves lives. I’ll make some time to sit down with a notebook to do some scrawling and plotting. I feel settled enough in life in Albuquerque to start doing stuff-making friends, trying new things, exploring. I am looking forward to being out more since the weather has cooled, and not merely surviving, which has been the major theme of my life for the past 3 years.

About 10 years ago, I almost left the military for culinary school. I love cooking, and I think it’s one of the few things I enjoy which I could do for a living without disliking it. I toyed with the idea of starting a food blog, and even attempted to have a logo commissioned by an artist. A friend in ABQ is starting a food truck. I feel as if I’m moving into a place where food is more of a focus of how I socialize, and with it, a healthier approach to and relationship with food than I’ve had in the past. I can do something related to food as a business. I had an idea for writing about truck stop/gas station/convenience store coffee. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the coffees in these unassuming venues. I haven’t encountered delicate floral notes, but strong “cowboy coffee” can be beautiful.

 

I would like to be involved in books, but not runnning a used bookstore-that sounds like a surefire way to hoarderdom. I did have an idea, but it seemed unoriginal and with low ROI.

I’ve intentionally avoided mixing money and jiu jitsu. I don’t want it to become a chore, I need bjj to be a positive part of my life. A lot of people start a gi company or something similar, I don’t want to do that.

This isn’t causing me anxiety- I have options, and space to explore them. My life is nowhere near perfect, and I am a deeply-flawed individual, but I am living the life I’ve planned. I am humbled and grateful.

Five Years

I’ve had a lot of anniversaries lately- 14 years married, 10 years since my mother passed, and now I commemorate another.

April 15th marked 5 years since I started my Brazilian jiu jitsu journey.

I miss my old team at the Jiu Jitsu Institute in VA. I haven’t spent as much time on the mat as I’d have liked, and many of my old training partners have surpassed me in rank and skill. However, I’ve surpassed everyone who didn’t start. I know I’m progressing, and I’ve had classes lately where I was able to effectively impose my will and execute the techniques I had planned. If I keep training, I will learn more and have more hours of mat time. This will be a good thing. Westside Jiu Jitsu, where I’m currently training, is a great school, too. Everyone has been welcoming and supportive. My 6-year old, Stella, started training again, and she’s enjoying it.

My life has been enriched by jiu jitsu, as I’ve written before. I am confident this will continue to be a part of my life, and I will one day be a black belt.

So, cheers to five years. Sure, I wish it were ten, but I’m glad it’s not one year, or worse still, eventually.

 

Friends

I’m writing at a coffee shop, because some cliches are deeply rooted in truth. On the patio, there’s a group of teens, and it’s obvious they’re a tight-knit bunch.

I had friends like that in high school.  They’re amazing people, and I’m grateful to have spent so much time with them. We don’t see each other much these days, and might wish each other Happy Birthday on facebook. I forgot to do it the other day. Sorry, Dom.

I’ve been a family man for a long time, and joined the military right after my 20th birthday. I’ve moved around. A lot. So have most of my friends. At last count, I think I’m living in my 9th house since leaving Hawaii. Our lives have taken divergent paths, and we’ve grown up and apart. This is the natural order of things.

I often say, a bit grimly, that I don’t have friends. A more accurate statement is probably “I’m not as close to my old friends as I would like.” I’ve made a few new friends. Different friends. This is appropriate- I’m a different person.

I don’t remember how it happened, exactly, but one day about 2.5 years ago, my brain said “you’re a writer.”  My actions and social circles reflect this, and I’m stoked to be connected to so many people who can write their asses off. I’d like to be able to more consistently put out quality content, and knew how to steer my projects, but it’s okay. I’m a white belt at writing, and my writing friends are encouraging and advising me, much like upper belts at a good martial arts school.

Yes, I could have just said “mentoring”, but it’s such a run-through buzzword.

It’s more than that. The folks who have mentored me have been experts in their field, and they could envision me being active in their thing, and have helped me get there. That’s dope.

Even though I don’t see my old friends for a decade or more, I’d still give them a kidney or rob a bank with them. The ones I’ve stayed engaged with are the ones who are still learning and growing, still having adventures, and doing cool stuff.

So, cheers to friends, new and old, cheers to having adventures and doing cool stuff. Skoal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank God

Yesterday was stressful- I thoroughly Good Fridayed. I felt like I had a lot of loose ends for an event I was supposed to be planning. I rear-ended someone in the course of running errands (minor-everything was ok), but everything went fine. The event was a blast, and not the miasma of confusion and ruination I projected it would be.

At the end of the day, it was good. Kind of like hiking, when about halfway through you doubt your decision-making faculties and elucidate on all the ways you were sure to die, but at the end, all that doubt and anxiety was really getting your hackles up over nothing, and hiking isn’t the worst thing.

We have three chickens. My favorite is Beyonce. The other two were being all Mean Girls and not letting her hang out. They’d venture across the yard without Bey, and hog the food. I made a point to petting and scratching her as I tucked them in every night for a few weeks. At first she was resistant, and did not appreciate me being in her space. Now she lets me pick her up and carry her around. Bella has started hanging out with Beyonce, and leaves Alice Walker to do her own thing. It’s very interesting, but Beyonce doesn’t need fairweather friends.

My whole family has been sick, and I really hope I don’t get it. I had a cold from November to February. The main reason I don’t want to get sick is because we’re doing a lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) event at jiu jitsu on Monday. We all bought masks. I am really looking forward to it, I know it will be a blast. I’ll take a million pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I watched a documentary on Netflix, Monk With A Camera, about a Buddhist monk who was also a photographer, as the title would suggest. It was more than that he came from a family high fashion, his father was a diplomat, but still, apt title. I enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to a photography class semester after next. The Dalai Lama was in the movie. I’ve seen him in a lot of things, and I’m always taken at his big, genuine laugh, which he is quick to share. He has deep joy and peace, even though he constantly deals with ameliorating intense suffering. His laugh is effective medicine.

The best medicine for me right now is sleep. Adieu.

 

Owning my body

I was talking to a dear friend earlier. She’s a makeup artist, and her husband is a tattoo artist. I realized both of them work in helping others own and customize their bodies. I think that’s beautiful.

Prior to that conversation, I managed to do a 25 min pilates routine with Paloma crawling all over me while I had spaghetti going on the stove. When dinner was prepped, I went to jiu jitsu. It was a short class, but one of the most technical, effective sessions I’ve ever had on the mat.  I feel great. I can often be in a rut, waiting for my alarm clock or lunch or sleep. I don’t want to be in stasis until I die. I want to be awake, to be present, to learn, to experience, and move.

I want to feel great all the time, but I know that’s not how life works. Still, I’ve been having a lot of nice days lately.

Things are looking up. Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday. For me, this year, it brings to mind the importance of relationships, specifically friendships. Also,for me, #squadgoals are mostly hoping to join or start a squad.

We caucused yesterday. This was our first time living in a caucusing state. It was disorganized, and they ran out of ballots. Towards the end, the kids were cold and tired, but they made it. Utah seems at times ruled by religious zealots and rednecks. It was encouraging to see a lot of progressives out, of various ages, colors, economic brackets. The enthusiasm was infectious, and it was therapeutic to be with a multitude of people who give a damn. It’s so easy to be cynical and not care- I did this around 2005 as a defense mechanism. I got better.