This part 3 blog entry is inspired by Terrence Malik’s film “Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey”. Two versions, one longer version narrated by Cate Blanchette and a shorter version by Brad Pitt, both rewarding cinematic experiences celebrating the profound forces of creation and love. Shot for the IMAX theatre, the film has an incredible cinematographic Planet Earth feel, paired with a poetic and philosophical tone. It describes the journey of the earth’s creation and how it has developed over time. The stunning visuals set the stage for the life-changing narrative. It truly puts the audience in a deep trance of wonderment. The journey elevates our justification of existence by putting it in question. Where did the metaphysical meet the mystical? When did creation converse with causation? How is the technological computing the ethical? And why is the logical in dialogue with the philosophical? You know when a movie is impactful when these kind of questions come to mind weeks after.

This film hit me hard. It was among a few events this season that have helped me focus my state of consciousness, and was the momentum force for what has been a month spent in a stream of consciousness. I remember a time in my youth where deep thinking was something I yearned for, but couldn’t achieve. The capacity to compute complex topics was practically unattainable but extremely desirable. As a Star Wars reference, the inability to deep think felt just like the inability to harness ‘the force’. I knew it was there, I knew of it, but just couldn’t quite embody it and use it. I boil this incapacity down to just not having lived enough life. I was young and inexperienced, but hopeful and hungry. The most inspiring fact of the matter is the state of aspiration.        



As odd as it may sound, I am grateful for the existential crisis. The state in which we ponder our existence is one that requires a higher level of comprehension and curiosity. Being without the drag of baggage thoughts and draining responsibilities enable a certain luxurious freedom. A freedom to think open-endedly and open-heartedly. My ability to read, watch, absorb, and write are freedoms that I do not take for granted. I understand the circumstances I have been blessed with and wish it upon all beings. Hence why I put in the effort to write with thoughtfulness and sincerity, in hopes to trigger altruistic action and spark existential appreciation to those around me.    

For 2017, my aim is to provide you all with more direction.

Direction is knowing which way to go. But knowing which way to go is just knowing which way to point the compass and how to orient the map. To provide ‘direction’ a true sense of purpose, direction requires a destination, and that my friends, to me, is an arrival to a deeper sense of awareness.


[To enhance your reading experience, please listen to the following audio track.] 
Audio Accompaniment: On the Nature of Daylight - Max Richter

Why does sunlight beam?
Why does darkness fall?
Why does water flow?
Why does the wind blow?
Why do we question these laws of nature?

Nature, it seems, is in constant motion. Life perpetuates along the forces of time, gravity, and love. The source of all things may be beyond our knowing, but the resource of all things are all around us and within us. We may not know the answer to ‘why’ yet, but there are things around us and within us to figure it out. We just have to focus our eyes, fine tune our ears, be one with our environment, and be ready to welcome those opportunities that bring us closer to knowing. To understand where the start of the beginning is, or where the founding of the foundation is, there must be a strong power of will, and a deep curiosity for why.



Why do we desire?
Why do we wonder?
Why do we long?
Why do we hope?
Why do we ask why and not just accept things as they are?

Nurture, it seems, is in constant flux. Ebbing and flowing, rising and falling, but always holding on, never ceasing to exist in humanity. The optimistic reality of our growth as a connected communion forces us to realize how special it is that there is something rather than nothing. But why is there something rather than nothing? This question can be seen as the crisis, the crux, the condemnation to existence. But it can also be seen as the chance, the opportunity, the destiny to life as we know it. Let us nurture the optimism that resides in each and every one of us, for it is our nature to look onwards and upwards.  

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself
— Carl Sagan

My fascination with ‘why’ is one that fuels my fire. It sets momentum to my movement and it gives meaning to what, when, where, and how. Without why, my desire to run races, teach classes, read books, watch movies, write blogs, and experience life would be greatly challenged. ‘Why’ is a constant reminder. It is the energy source for what activities I choose to engage, when I choose to speed up and slow down, where I choose to travel and where to call my home, how I choose to connect with people and things. Why is the breath that inspiration breathes. Only within the last 100 years of human history has our life expectancy exceeded 50 years. But what of those extra years?

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.
— Abraham Lincoln

Although this quantum leap in the length of our lives is something to celebrate, it also comes with a cost. Jeffrey Iliff, neuroscientist, PhD, and Ted Talker, shared some new terms and principles to the Equinox health and fitness community at the NYC Fall High Performance Living Symposium back in early November.

His lecture “forward thinking: maintaining cognitive reserve now and in the decades to come”, was one of my top takeaway solutions to high performance living. In order to live what you love at length, and investigate the almighty ‘why’, we must employ strategies and tactics to empower our mind’s resistance to damage of the brain, also known as ‘Cognitive Reserve’. The way he quickly explained it was a reference to the movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Imagine your brain is the war rig truck that Charlize Theron’s character “Imperator Furiosa” fiercely drove down Fury Road. Cognitive Reserve is the condition of the truck; it’s function, it’s physique, it’s strength, it’s vitality, it’s health. 

Cognitive reserve will degrade and weaken over time based on a few factors:

  • Degradation occurs at differing rates depending on ‘how bumpy the road is’, aka how many obstacles and traumas one faces through the journey of life (concussions, head trauma, falls, blows to the head, etc.)
  • Daily lifestyle practices and habits can strongly influence the nutrient delivery, blood flow, and toxicity within the brain (smoking, stress management, physical activity, learning).
  • Sleep quality and quantity can affect memory consolidation (retention), synaptic scaling (ability to focus and clear the fog), and brain washing/cleansing (ability to detoxify).
    • Jeffrey’s team discovered the ‘Glymphatic System’, the brain’s cleansing system. It is one of the most crucial arguments behind the importance of sleep, which enable cellular repair, reset, and regeneration.
  • Other secondary factors that correspond with a delayed onset of mental disease and cognitive reserve degradation include: Higher levels of education, occupational attainment, a variety in leisure and prescribed physical activity, and frequent sociability.

‘Cognitive Sustainability’ is the principle Jeffrey concluded with as a message to take care of your brain now, not later, not when signs and symptoms start to show, but when you have the awareness. Strong points to take home:

  • The brain’s resistance to degradation is in large part determined by lifestyle practices.

  • The brain you build now is the brain you’ll have later on in life.

  • Mental health is behavioral health.

snoopy kiss.jpg


Here are some of my current practices I perform that can assist with repair, reset, and regeneration:

  1. Elevation (Legs up the wall pose)

  2. Decompression (Hanging, Spinal Segmentation Folding)

  3. Reflexology (Lacrosse Ball Foot Massage, cobblestone mat)

  4. Daily Stretching  

  5. Breathing:

    1. Crocodile breathing

    2. 4-7-8 breath

  6. Mindfulness cooking

  7. Daily Yoga

  8. Steam & Sauna

  9. Contrast shower (1 minute hot: 1 minute cold: 6 minutes total)

  10. Compression tights for enhanced circulation and blood pressure



As you can tell with my latest writings, my current investigations are not quite ‘Fitness’ based, but more so among the architecture of lifestyle design through behavioural study and inquiry. The term Lifestyle Medicine is one that is gaining traction in the health and fitness community and I am definitely a proponent of it. I have been defining my career as Fitness-centric, but I am only now coming to terms with the fact that ‘Fitness’ is just one small aspect of what I aspire to center my life’s work. The way I see it, Lifestyle Medicine is an umbrella that includes categories such as Physical Activity and Fitness, Diet and Nutrition, Rest and Regeneration, Mental Wellness, Behavioural Health, and Spirituality. My mission for 2017 is to broaden my scope not only as a Fitness Professional, but as a Health and Lifestyle Practitioner. I hope to share the fruits of this holistic enlightenment with you, and provide you more direction toward your destination.

To conclude, the justification and validation for upholding best health practices such as maintaining cognitive reserve, conducting daily introspection, and performing regeneration rituals, come from our curiosity for ‘WHY’, and our aspiration to grow from it.

Allow awareness to be your destination.
Let destination guide your direction.
And share your direction with connection, compassion, and appreciation.  

Thank you for reading.

With love,


[To enhance your meditative experience, take a listen to this beautiful track below]
Audio accompaniment: D92 8:50PM - Jim Perkins