Of Plans and Purpose

The A-Team

I love it when a plan comes together.

That’s the catch phrase of one of my childhood heroes, John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team. Actually, my real hero was Mr. T., who played heavy muscle and mechanical genius B. A. Barracus of the aforementioned team, but “I pity the fool” doesn’t really play into today’s blog post.

And truth be told I’m stretching Hannibal’s catch phrase because in all honesty I’m not much of a planner. I just sort of head off on a particular path and then revel afterwards about how everything seems to fall into place of it’s own accord.

And so today’s theme is really more of a “I love it when everything just seems to fall into place.” For you dedicated fans of the A-Team I apologize. I’ve bastardized a prize catch phrase and possibly pulled you unnecessarily out of cyber space and into this rambling post which really has very little to do with the A-Team after all.

As an aside, for those of you who like myself hold fond childhood memories of this popular 80’s action drama, just keep it that way. Don’t go back. I know it’s tempting with Netflix and the ease of watching your old favorites again, but don’t. It’s not worth it and there’s no point in destroying a fond memory with harsh reality. It just wasn’t that good of a show.

Okay, now back to my point. I have what is considered a wide variety of interest in this world of health and fitness and somehow manage to encapsulate camps that are often seen as quite disparate. I didn’t intentionally plan it this way (remember, I don’t plan) it just sort of happened as I followed my interests and let them bloom into passions.

This weekend, however, I got to see how they all just might fit together.

Aside from my wife and daughters, I have two main passions in life and depending on where you’re reading this you’re aware of one but maybe not the other. Those passions are fitness — real fitness as in “to be fit for,” as in “to be capable of,” not this spandexy, “it’s better to look good than to feel good” monstrosity the Fitness Industrial Complex has unleashed upon us to feed upon our insecurities and drive us to spend money on much that is counterproductive to our over all health and wellness — and homesteading.

Homesteading, or my own attempts at a suburban version of it, is an exercise in the Emersonian ideal of self reliance. It also gives me opportunity to explore the older values of craftsmanship and ingenuity that seem more and more on the wane in this fast paced consumer culture of ours. As I began my journey into these ideas I began the blog Emerson’s Acre.

Because fitness is my business, I’ve devoted much more of my time to blogging about my gym and the things I find wrong with our industry on my website Agogefit.com. Well, that and homesteading is really hard. In fact my first two years have resulted in various failures that have caused me to casually walk away like a cat that just fell out of the window, “So what? I meant to do that” or in my case “I’ve just got more important things to take care of right now.”

If you follow me over at Agogefit.com then you may have read that earlier this summer I hired Eric Hulse to help me deal with a few creeping health issues. After running a few tests he concluded that I was having stress issues that were creating hormone imbalances and we started an elimination style diet to see how that would affect my concerns. As I adjusted to a life of no grains, sugar, dairy, alcohol or eggs, things began to improve but there was still more to be done.

A few weeks a go I submitted a test aimed specifically at assessing gut function. I was a tad bummed to discover that I have what’s affectionately termed as “leaky gut syndrome.” What this basically means is that the fauna and flora of my intestinal tract are in such a state of imbalance that the lining of my innermost innards has become somewhat permeable, to the extent that partially undigested proteins and other food particles are passing into my blood stream and thereby raising a general alert and provoking a pathogenic response.

What that really means is another $200 or so in supplements and at least another sixty days on the diet, which I must say I have become comfortable with even if I did have to give up a nice whiskey every once in a while. Just so you know I got a wonderful little whiskey glass for Father’s Day this year that still remains in it’s box on top of the refrigerator awaiting some future emancipation.

My wife, Samantha, an early childhood educator, is aware of the theoretical link between leaky gut and autism and, while we don’t think I have autism, became very interested in my new supplement protocol. One night last week we sat down and reviewed my prescriptions and explored the contents of the capsules I’ll be taking for the next sixty days. Those contents are all vegetable and herbal in origin. Things like oregano, parsley and garlic figured prominently in the ingredients. It was then that I began to see the connection that thus far alluded me.

There was a time when kitchen herbs were a staple in my diet. We lived in an older part of town with rich fertile soil and I kept a small garden of cooking herbs that I pulled from daily. Garlic went into almost everything I made. But then we moved. Our new house is just as old as the old one but the land is different. The new house is part of an old mining district and the land was once clear cut and scraped down to the clay. The soil just plain sucks and thus gardening has been more difficult.

That and I got lazy with my cooking.

So this weekend I made efforts that I hope will reverberate into the long term. Wait, is that what planning is?

I put my gym time to work. I got a real sense of why the pulling muscles trump the pushing ones and a practical lesson in the futility of over training those muscles you see in the mirror. Work comes from the back. Remember that. Pulling weeds, chopping with a hoe, shoveling and spreading mulch, and toting with a wheelbarrow all involve the back.

As bizarre as it sounds, for me, work is play. I find the same level of losing myself in my tasks that most of us find in intense play and my work is no longer labor. Well it is, but not in the bad way.

So all weekend I worked with a mind toward correcting past mistakes of omission and bringing back elements I had lost. I got to see how that silly obsession of mine with the wood burning stove and keeping firewood played to gardening, as the wood chips and bark left over from the wood splitting made a rich mulch that earthworms just love, and how the gardening played directly to my nutrition which played to my general health and my abilities in the gym which plays to my ability to earn a living and to my ability to work on the homestead which is the woodpile and the garden and Ohmagerd that’s a cycle and how perfect is that!

I pity the fool who can’t see that.

To our perfect imperfection,


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