Rolling Sisyphus' Stone

I have created this blog to attempt to help those with chronic pain and depression. Sisyphus was a mythological figure sentenced to roll a stone uphill for eternity. In this way, I intend to approach chronic pain and depression as constant foes that must be your constant focus. Photo courtesy

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 year in review

I haven't posted in a very long time.  I think I tend to write when I am unhappy, which really isn't a good way to track progress.  If you only write when you are miserable then you only read misery.

It has been a very good year for me.  In February of 2017 I found my way to a really good gym named 'The Shop'.  The owner, Joe Howard, is a trainer like none I have ever met.  It has not just been a place where I go, work out, then go home.  It has been completely transformative in how I view the world and myself.  How I speak to myself with my inner voice.  How I care for myself through proper nutrition. 

Over the past year, I participated in 2 powerlifting meets.  It is what I feel I am intended to do.  It is such a rush, much like pro wrestling was.  I wish I could explain the feeling of exhilaration when I go for a 1 rep max or compete in a meet.  I think there are moments in our life when we do something that eclipses everything else and makes us so acutely in tune with it that we are one with it.  That is how I feel now.

In the past I have either made resolutions or ignored new years completely because I felt so defeated.  This year, I am not making a resolution because there is nothing I want to change. I am ON MY PATH.  All I can do is keep marching with the same resolve.

People get hung up on dates and numbers.  Too much I think.  When what you need to focus on is the process.  Numbers will come and go if you honor the process.  Saying that, new years day is just another day to me.  2018 is just a block of time in which I intend to improve myself.

One thing I have learned this year is that if you lie to yourself long enough, you believe the lie.  And the only way to self improvement is to face your flaws and correct them.  I surround myself with people who do this every day and expect it of me.  

My wife and kids have been extremely supportive of me, through bad times and good.  I can't say enough about how important they have been to me through this.  All of the time I have devoted at the Shop has been difficult for them, even though they never say so.  

I feel it has not been an easy road but it has been vastly rewarding.  As Joe Howard has said many times, most people look for the easy path, but there is no easy path.  It has been a marvelous freaking journey thus far.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

An open letter to my children

This will seem like an unorthodox post compared to many of the others.  I use this blog not only to share my own progress, but also as a diary.

I have been talking a lot to my son about his nightmares, his anger issues he says he has (although I have seen far worse, have been far worse).

The following is a letter to him and my daughters about what I have come to understand, and explain, as caging and harnessing your demon.

From a young age, I remember feeling as though I could be possessed by something larger than myself. When I started wrestling, I met my demon for the first time.

When I say I have a demon, I don't mean this in the sense of the one on the Exorcist movie, although I would say manifestation of a 'demon' may be linked to what I am about to describe.

I also don't intend to dive into a discussion of the philosophical differences between western and eastern spirituality.

What I will say along these lines is that we, humans, are composed of dark and light.  The two balance.  They are meant to be together.  For proof, look outside right now, then in 12 hours, look outside again.  Light encompasses our human components of empathy, compassion, and arguably our sense of morality.  Darkness encompasses creativity, passion, aggression.

We as humans are balanced when we feel and incorporate all of these components.  We are starved emotionally, if we negate any of these components.

Darkness gets a bad rap here in western culture.  If you look east, specifically to Asia, depictions of what I am describing above show up as yin-yang, and predominantly as dragons, who are fierce, wise beasts who thrive in darkness.

I learned that I could be a monster of an opponent, literally, when I let my inner demon out.  I have never been someone you would pick out of a crowd and say 'yeah, that is the kid you want to stay away from because he is tallest, the most muscular, etc.'  But I damn sure promise you that was the sentiment amongst many of my competitors after they got hold of me when I was in this mind state.

I imagined it was a large gorilla named 'Mighty Joe Young'.  Seriously.  I even drew pictures of it.  Although I didn't have any idea that what I was doing was controlling this through meditation and visualization, I would draw pictures of my gorilla being enclosed within a four cornered brick wall.  And when he had to come out, he would shatter the wall and take me over.

I realize now that Mighty Joe was more appropriately named 'ego', after reading Eckhart Tolle.  The true manifestation of the parts of myself that were at times, terrible to assume, but at opportune times, an  unstoppable force. This has also been portrayed as Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dr. Banner and the Incredible Hulk.

 I want for my children not to be afraid of this.  It is powerful.  What you must learn to do is first, name your demon and know it.  Don't befriend it, but know its power.  Don't allow it to outsmart you and trick you into getting angry when you shouldn't.  Visually put your demon in a cage, wall, or some other similar room so that it can be controlled.  And lastly and most importantly, when duty calls, and your demon busts out, which it will, harness it.  Jump on its back and ride it into battle.  Become one with it for the time necessary to destroy whatever opposition or tasks lies in front of you.

This will seem very abstract to you now, but you must seek a path of wisdom, your own path, through meditation and visualization, of doing what I describe.  If you do this, you will be an unstoppable force yourself.  You will shatter records, win championships, and frighten opponents into submission.  Don't feel bad for this, or guilty.  Self-defamation runs strong in our blood and you must learn to purge that out and stand tall and proud.  When you go to war, you go to kill. When the war is over, you must become light again.  War will find you in short order, and you must learn to balance your darkness and your light to realize your full potential.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Purpose and motivation

As I sit here contemplating how to express my feelings, it dawns on me that I am doing so without the slightest hint of knee pain.  Not even the slightest bit.

I have been powerlifting now for approximately 6 weeks.  Every training session, things feel a little better.  More in place.  My body is responding, my mind is soaring.

Sometimes, I am dumbfounded that I could do this a year post-Regenexx.  It only further serves to emphasize my point that Regenexx is not just a point source treatment.

Sure, my knee ached miserably.  I couldn't walk.  And all of the mental BS that went with that.  The weight gain and apathy.  The self pity.

What stem cells enabled me to do is ENABLE MYSELF.  Whereas my treatment before was pain-relief driven, nothing of the sort occurred.  My pain was not reduced with the use of pain medication.  And quite frankly, the risk of organ damage doesn't appeal to me.

The stem cell injection I received was in my knee, very low in my kinetic chain.  I didn't realize it at the time, but stem cell therapy promotes STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENT to the human body.  Like the legs of a cell phone tower, if one is damaged, the tower runs the risk of toppling over.  A sturdy base enables the tower to stand for years to come.  The stem cell therapy I received has enabled me to lift more weight than I ever have.  Not because it has given me some falsely induced strength, but because it has helped repair a weak link in my kinetic chain.  Everything from my toes to my fingertips is firing together again.

It has taken me about a year to come out of my cage and take a look around, but now realizing I am free, I am beating my wings.

In my case, pain management is muscle movement.  Mental pain management is an ancillary benefit of this.  Day by day, I feel as though the odometer of age is being turned back.  I still have back and neck pain.  I may always have this.  But I am MOVING again, and it is marvelous.

Finding motivation has awakened me, and helped me to serve my purpose.  To be a great father and husband.  To be of benefit to them and my community.  I can do these things now in a capacity that I could have only dreamed of before.

Below is a link to my recent Regenexx promotional video. I was paid nothing by Regenexx to do this.  I simply want to pay forward the blessings I have received.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

first dance

About a year ago, I was at a very low point in my life.  We were in DC and stayed at an older home during the trip.  The home had an old bathtub that I fell in and ended up sitting most of the trip.

As hopeless as I felt, I knew that within a couple of months I was going to get stem cell therapy on my knee.  As little as I believed this would help, I still had a shred of faith that it would bring me up some.

So fast-forward 1 year:  I was able to do something I never dreamed I would do: go to a father-daughter dance, and yes, I danced :).

You can't get back time.  I am thankful I got to spend this time with my daughter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Projection and Introspection

Photo courtesy of Pinterest-public domain

Today is the day after the 2016 presidential election.  Predictably, about half of the people I know are elated and the other half are distraught.  It has been this way with politics, in my lifetime and since I actually started paying attention to it, since the 2000 election.

So rather than point out which of you are right and which are wrong (I say tongue-in-cheek), let me share a bit of my own life experience.

About 10 years ago or so, my family learned that my wife had a brain illness.  Up to that point, our careers and success had been linear.  We had a new baby and were both very successful.  I embraced life and it embraced me.  I enjoyed socializing with people, and thought that going ahead, all we had to concern ourselves with were our retirement investments and making sure our baby's college investment fund was filling up.

From that point, a cloud moved in over our heads.  My wife's health gradually decreased to the point that she was in severe pain.  Multiple surgeries and a loss of her career, and me having to watch her dreams slip through her fingers, eventually led to great emotional distress, not just for her but for me.

Our life changed.  We moved, I sunk into a deep depression.  I became irritable and dreaded any interaction with the public, having developed social anxiety.

However, through the slow dripping hell that we as a family endured, we also learned a valuable lesson.  That every day is a gift.  Now with two more children, a happy home, and laughter through the tears, we have learned that the most important thing in anyone's life is family.  That includes anyone that loves you and spends time with you.

This message is for my friends who are distraught, mostly, but also generally for anyone needing encouragement.  Although politicians and policy can affect your life, what matters is right in front of you.  As a family, we had to make adjustments.  Very uncomfortable ones.  But we did it together.  As my family has learned, love costs nothing, is not part of a policy or government mandate.  It is an inherent right and gift we can give to each other, regardless of who is in charge of our government.

I would encourage you to turn off the TV.  Unplug from the rhetoric that is being spewed and plug into who you are, who is around you.

I have not, in my entire life, had a sitting president or presidential candidate visit me in the hospital or at my times of deepest despair.  They are there, you are HERE.  So, be here and be present, and breathe out that which you cannot control.  Your mind and your heart will thank you, and so will those around you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Hello all.  It has been a while since I have posted.  It dawned on me that I should document my journey for the benefit of everyone reading this blog.

It is funny, in a way.  It is when you realize that you are back to dwelling on work issues, not being able to lift as much weight as you like or exercise as much as you want, etc., that you must be getting past a health issue that prohibited you from giving thought to any of these issues.

Over the weekend, we went to the Christmas tree farm to mark our tree for cutting.  As I walked up the hill, I had a bit of knee pain and felt the immediate reaction to be depressed, then remembered last year, working up the will to force myself to do the same while limping on a cane.  The effort last year was all I could handle for the entire day.

 It is all about perspective.  You can be in pain and still be functional. 

Here is a video of me recently regaining the ability to do double unders, which is where you jump rope while swinging the rope twice under your feet.  It keeps getting better and better.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hypnosis and Dehypnosis

Society is hypnotized. Read through your newsfeed and look at how people react to each other. There is very little real communication. There is mostly just a series of memes, one line insults, words spewed into the ether.

I am not accusing anyone of something I am not guilty of. We are hypnotized from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. Our phones, computers, radio. On a more personal basis, our political leaders. Our religious leaders. Medication. The list goes on and on.

There is a fundamental difference between belief and fear. I grew to understand this through someone named Fr. James O'Brien. His philosophy class shook me to the core, and sent me into about a decade of agnosticism. I spoke to him once at a reunion about my path and how I came back to Christ, and why he taught in the way he did. In his class, every week he would 'play' a different philosopher. Both philosophers that supported the existence of God and those who denied it.

He told me that you cannot truly believe something out of fear. But that in order to own a belief, you must hold it to the fire. If it burns away, it was an impure belief, but if it survives, and that truth does survive, then it would become part of your core. So rather than believing something because someone told you 'if you don't believe what I say, you will go to hell', you believe something on the basis that it was a universal truth that would uplift yourself, others and result in a closer relationship with God and your own purpose.

Photo courtesy

  I believe Fr. O'Brien was teaching a form of dehypnosis, similar to Roy Masters. In the short term, it was disruptive. Long term, it has given me confidence in my belief. That I could not only believe it in hopes that I would not be condemned, but that I myself could spread a message of God's love.
Every thought we have, word we say, action we take, affects others in some way. Either positively or negatively. It is so important that we set our intention before we act.

The old saying 'What Would Jesus Do?' comes to mind. Would Jesus sit with the disciples and make snide remarks about someone who walked past, or loft an insult at someone without having some motivation to help that person? Would he walk up and tell the person that since they weren't like him, then they would burn eternally.

The answer is that he lead people through example, and in every case would give himself to that person, rather than shun them. Would serve them, and in turn, they would serve him. No threat was ever necessary. In cases where he had someone less receptive to his teachings, he wouldn't yell at them and threaten them, he would teach a parable and speak of the love of his Father. In every case, planting a seed of wisdom and love that would grow in that person.

Photo courtesy

We should also act only in ways that help lead each other to salvation, always looking upward, not downward.