BENCH CHALLENGE: THE DAY “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE” BECAME REALITY

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 “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” – Alexander the Great

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

“I am not interested in why it can’t be done. I want to know how you are going to do it.” – Plaque this writer received from his employees in 1993 – the 15th anniversary of Annex Research, Inc.

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Moving 250-pound bench down and up 50-foot hillsides half a mile apart

Another case of pushing the envelope – with Divine help – equivalent of bench-pressing 1.5 times one’s weight

RAINBOW SHOWER, Aug 28, 2014 – I did something yesterday that seemed like “mission impossible.” Until it was done. Just like Nelson Mandela said in the above quote.

The only explanation I have is that I received Divine help to do the “impossible.”  Because I just could not see myself pushing the envelope that far out.  Until I did. 🙂

“It was a struggle. I don’t know how I did it. But here it is…” – I texted Elizabeth who was in an art class at the time, sending her this picture.

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What was the “mission impossible?”  It was like bench-pressing 1.5 times one’s own weight over a period of four hours up and down two steep hills half a mile apart.  If someone had told me beforehand that a 69-year old of average build and strength could do it without any weight-training, I would have bet against me. And lost…

Chakana_apuchetas5_01 (13) The day of the bench 8-27-14 IMG_2220a

Translated into what really happened…IMG_2210

The “mission impossible” was moving a 250-pound bench down a steep slope (50-ft elevation drop), loading it single-handedly into my faithful El Jeepo, taking it to another steep hillside spot with a 50-ft vertical drop on the opposite side of the gulch – half a mile away, and then setting it up and painting it there.

Elapsed time: Four (4) hours. Weight loss: Four pounds (and that’s after drinking half a gallon of water during the mission).

IMG_2209  Bench Move 8-27-14 IMG_2213

Why do it? “Because it was there,” just as what happened with my “Lumberjack Challenge” four weeks ago.IMG_2219

And because of a beautiful view.  My lumberjacking work over the last two months had opened up two new gulch vistas. Which called for two new benches from which to enjoy them.

History of the Neptune/Urusaywa-Coropuna Bench

“So how did the bench get up there in the first place?” you may be wondering.

It all started with a dream I had in Puno on Lake Titicaca, Peru, in late January 2010.  I was to construct a celestial/planetary network at the Rainbow Shower (see “Living a Dream,” May 2010).

It took me three months to do it after we returned home. RainbowShower_Apus_PlanetsElizabeth also participated – by flying hot air balloons at the Anahata-Huaca-Ahu, the sacred place in the center of the Rainbow Shower. They helped me align the exact spots of the eight planetary and Andean nodes (see this 2010 Google Earth map – right).

All four “ceke”  (celestial energy) lines which connect the planetary and Andean pairs intersect at the AHA, the center and the Heart Chakra of Planet Earth.  You can see that more clearly on the latest Google Earth satellite scan, made on 1-13-2013 (middle shot below), and also from the ground level this month.

IMG_2111 Rainbow Shower 1-13-13 IMG_2113

It Took Three Men to Move the Bench/Railroad Ties in Three Parts Five Years Ago

The 250-pound bench made it up that 50-foot hill five years ago in three parts.  It took three men to do it.  A strapping 6′ 4″ tough 23-year old crab fisherman from Alaska carried the biggest load. My then local landscaper and myself carried the two smaller pieces.

The bench is so heavy because it is made out of old railroad ties that Chakana_apuchetas5_01 (12)were once used for the sugar cane train track in Lahaina.  Now it sat right next to the Chakana/Apucheta that marks the Neptune/Urusaywa-Coropuna node.

Later, I also carted up there two concrete blocks for the foundation.  I then assembled the bench on top of the hill and set it on the two blocks.  You can see it there as of May 1, 2010 – the day I completed the construction of the planetary network that made my Puno dream come true (see”Living a Dream,” May 2010).

Since that time, I have only made it to the bench up that steep hill maybe three or four times a year.  Once a year to waterproof it.  The rest to mediate and enjoy the ocean and gulch vistas.  Elizabeth has been there twice in five years, the last time about three years ago.  I had not gone there at all in nearly three months since we returned to the Rainbow Shower from Arizona.

I cut that trail myself through the cane grass in the fall of 2009. Since that time, my landscapers and I would weed-whack it about once every quarter.  One of my landscapers quite over that hill.  My current ones are doing it, but with a great deal of difficulty.

So last week, I decided to close that trail and told my landscaper about it. He seemed relieved. 🙂

But I was not.  I was still facing that heavy bench challenge.  I had no idea if and how I might be able to do alone what took three men to do five years ago.  Worse, the three railroad tie pieces are now attached to each other. So the bench now weighs about 250-pounds.  And it has to be moved as one piece.

My Bench D-Day

I don’t know why, but I felt yesterday – Aug 27, 2014 – was my Bench D-Day.  Elizabeth had gone to an art class.  I was alone.

“This is it,” I said to myself as I mounted El Jeepo and we headed down into the gulch.

IMG_2210Before starting out, and again before climbing the steep hill up to the bench, I  asked the Spirit to help me do the “impossible.” And to protect me and my equipment from injury during the mission.

When I got to the bench and toppled it down on its side, I realized only then that I would have to transport it in one piece.  I had originally envisioned doing it in three pieces, as we had done originally.  But the metal braces with which I attached the legs five years ago were too tough to take off.

I’ll spare you the play-by-play of what happened next. It suffices to say that I had doubts many times that I would be able to move the bench by myself down to the Royal Palm Trail where El Jeepo was waiting for me.  Each time I would pause and ask the Spirit to give me the strength and the wisdom to carry on.

And the entire time, I kept hearing the sounds of “Bolero” (by Maurice Ravel, a musical masterpiece I am still currently working on).   It was as if the Creator was answering my prayers with this music.

When the bench and I finally reached within about 10 feet of El Jeepo, I was not sure if and how I would be able to lift the 250-pound railroad ties into it.  Never mind that I was equally uncertain if and how it would fit in the first place.

With a great deal of difficulty, I managed to lift the bench and stand it up on one end.  It looked like if I flipped it forward, it might drop just below the El Jeepo tailgate.  If I was wrong, the heavy bench would have destroyed the Jeep’s bumper.  IMG_2227

I was actually not thinking about that until later when I reconstructed the scene in my mind.  At the time, I just acted instinctively and pushed the bench forward as hard as I could, hoping for the best.  As it fell down, it grazed the bumper but did not damage it. You can see the mark it left (right).

That’s when I realized that I was not doing this alone; that I was getting Divine help to complete my “mission impossible.”

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EPILOGUE – WHAT WAS THE LESSON?

Practice in Surrendering to the Divine and Receiving Grace

Our Spirit guides and teachers have told us repeatedly that everything that happens in life, whether we think is “good” or “bad,” carried a lesson.  So what was the lesson one is to learn from my Aug 1 Lumberjack and by Aug 27 Bench Press Challenges?

(Please let me know what you think – click on Leave a Comment at the top of this story)

As I contemplated in retrospect what all this was about, two things came to me.

First, it was the S.T.A.R. challenge, a test of faith in the Divine.

S.T.A.R.?

2SIRIUSSurrender-Trust-Allow-Receive, the four principles of the Golden Dolphins of Sirius that Nina Brown channels.  And since Sirius B is actually ALTZAR’s home star, no wonder the Golden Dolphins were here to help me and guide me through this adventure.

Here is their S.T.A.R. philosophy in a nutshell:

S.T.A.R. : When one aligns with the will and love of the divine Creator

  • SURRENDER to the tranquility of knowing human divinity
  • TRUST in wholeness to express
  • ALLOW human divinity to evolve
  • RECEIVE with appreciation and gratitude

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The Essential Qualities of the S.T.A.R. philosophy

  • WHOLENESS (human divinity)
  • SELF-LOVE
  • PLAY (the now moment)
  • EMBODIMENT OF THE EXPANDED GOLDEN RULE (do unto all creation as you would have all of creation do unto you)
  • PHILOSOPHY: The activity through which we see creation through the eyes of the Creator.

Second, I realized that WE set our own limitations. Or let others set them for us.

If we live our lives by the “sky is the limit”-principle, great things will happen.  If we allow Fear to guide us, Trouble will follow in short order.Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 3.40.53 PM

I am 69 years old.  I am a 6-foot, 168-pound man who has always been physically active, but who hates weight-lifting or any other “gym”-activity.  If a sport did not involve a ball, I didn’t care for it.

Furthermore, I have had lower back problems since the age of 31. I have had two knee surgeries. I have had two major shoulder surgeries for torn rotator cuffs (both left and right).  They were all a result of various sports or hiking injuries sustained in the field, not gym.

A year ago, I re-injured my right shoulder on a tractor mower. It was so bad that I thought I would need a third surgery.  Instead, as a shaman, I turned to Spirit for help.  A year later, my shoulder is still not 100%.  But it was good enough to save my life a couple of times on Aug 1 when I was hanging on it like a monkey.  And to “bench press” an object 1.5-times my weight, and move it half a mile.

Yet, I never considered myself to be a strong person.  If I had an athletic gift, it was not body-building strength; it was ENDURANCE. I am blessed with a strong heart and lungs.  Despite my age, I was able to keep up with the fittest and the youngest of my fellow-Inca shamans while climbing mountains at elevations of 15,000 to 16,000 feet in the Andes.

Now contrast all that to the expectations in our society of what a life of a 69-year old man should be like.  See what I mean about letting others set our limitations?

“The only thing we have to fear is the fear itself” (FDR)

Another thing I realized is that this experience has taught me that, “the only thing we have to fear is the fear itself,” as FDR put it. Once we Surrender to the Divine, put our Trust in the Creator and our Spirit guides, Allow them to guide us and help us, we WILL  Receive and experience Grace. Which means a life without fear, a life of peace and tranquility and service to others.

And to me,  that is the lesson of both my Aug 1  LUMBERJACK CHALLENGE – REACHING THE “UNREACHABLE TREE,” and of my Aug 27  BENCH CHALLENGE: THE DAY “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE” BECAME REALITY.

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“It was a struggle. I don’t know how I did it. But here it is…” – I texted Elizabeth who was in an art class at the time, sending her this picture.

Both seemed like “mission impossible.” Until it was done. Just like Nelson Mandela said.

The only explanation I have is that I received Divine help to do the “impossible.”  Because I just could not see myself pushing the envelope that far out.  Until I did.  🙂

2 Replies to “BENCH CHALLENGE: THE DAY “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE” BECAME REALITY”

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