School of rock the only school, after high school, that I attended longer than a year and a half. Next month I not only turn 41 but I will complete 2 years in the school of rock. The truth is I tried so many times to attended college, but it was too much noise in my head. I couldn’t concentrate, different than school of rock that quites mind and I can focus, therefore I am no longer the problem child. However, in the eyes of many I am insane oh well, who gives a shit? Because between depress and insane, I choose insanity. Rock and roll ain’t no noise pollution, no doubt about, should be actually called spiritual practice. However, it is a long way to the top if you wanna Rock and Roll, but if get the chance is all or nothing. Life lessons inspired by AC/DC and Pennywise.

Chapter 9: 2020, the greatest metaphor

Many see 2020 as a bad year but for me it was the greatest year. I mean I love crisis because it bring that best in all of us if you take the opportunity,  and understand life’s metaphors.

When 2020 came along I was already in the process of writing my coaching  methodology. However,I was having a hard time with the final stages. I have made a clear connection between mind and body when talking about health, but the soul part have not been totally clear to me.

Depression is like onions,  full of layers and each layer have a lot of crying, pain, fear etc to be released. It’s hard, specially when you are getting to the core of the issue, which for me is existence. So, in 2020 I used the corona virus lockdown as a metaphor.  I was already going within for awhile, but this time I just took a deeper dive and went all in. I am talking about meditation 2x a day, sometimes 3. I went super deep and starter to connect all the dots in my life until now (never stops is my guess). Because the truth is purpose is the way out of depression. Purpose, not goals.

Now when it comes to soul talk, I must say: It has nothing to do with Jesus or God, It’s actually within. The issue is, going within is painful and we all fear pain. For me the issue is not the virus and the solution is not the vaccine, I think the shit is much deeper. The issue is existential,  lack of purpose, and the solution is going within. That is the greatest metaphor that 2020 brought us. To go within our houses, in this case ourselves, our soul.

One day I read in a book: “can you imagine a planet with a bunch of souls with no purpose? Well I can, Planet earth. Truth being told,if  there is one thing that corona virus gave all of us is an existential crisis, which reflects in our health system. First, we don’t face due to fear. Yeah, going to church is easy and not believing in nothing, it’s also easy. Now, stop go within and face your own existence and ask yourself: Qual é do bagulho? (Translation: what’s the meaning of life?), it’s very hard. Second, I believe we have all been traumatized on the soul level, let’s be honest, we live in the world that trys to put everything in a box, and in the world like this is hard to find any meaning to life. Third, is that I honestly think we are all disconnected. For me, food is what makes the biggest connection between us and the environment (planet), and health.  In this sense we are serverly disconnected and ironically is where my depression actually started, with the word: DIET.

Now, I think I am over the fear, at least over a good significant part of the fear. The reality is a traumatized soul with a malnourished body is a true disaster. Actually, if you think about it; a traumatized soul with malnourished body is actually war conditions. When we are in war with ourselves, we get fearful. Fear get you paralyzed and in fear we don’t think, we just react. So, to begin my philosophical health movement I must say, it all starts with food. Then you must go within and face your fears.

The formula out of depression is Purpose = coffee × weed² (P=CW²). Here are my videos of the week. The innerchild revolution is a philosophy created by my own experiences and studies. Disclaimer coming this week!

Punkaste,

Rirou

Chapter 5: More human than human

Today,  01/20/2021 is actually the day of Saint Sebastiao, the patron of Rio de Janeiro, my birth place. At first I wanted to launch my book this day, but since I realized my story is way bigger than I thought, I needed more time to finish the book. Now the idea of this blog is actually to talk about spirituality, so I decided to use the date as my first post of 2021.

The crazy thing of all of this, is that after I decided to talk about my depression,  the opportunities of making my point started to showing up at my door.  I mean, from Leo the Great answer my tweet to reading an article where the Pope says that those who are skeptical about the vaccine are suicidal denial. You can read here.

If I am completely honest,  my set back started with what the Pope said, and here it is why. I am skeptical of this vaccine. I mean, people have all the rights in the world of being skeptical with this vaccine. I am not antivax or a conspiracy guy. I am just human! But to be fair, just in my life time alone I learned about bullshit science with the tabacco industry,  with the nutrition industry,  with supplements industry,  and even with some medicine industry. My kids are vaccined, I believe they work. But this one is different in so many ways, specially because every day there is something new to the virus (unless media lies about). I am not the only skeptical, I did a poll with a few of my followers and 100% said they don’t trust this vaccine either. I just want wait a bit and see more results, until I make my decision.  No, am I not suicidal denial,  I had those thoughts before because of what you antecessor Pope said. I don’t anymore,  but I can’t help the fact that I am a sensitive man. Yeah, I am sensitive like a witch, so God save the queen!

Let’s be totally fair here, we have a big mental health crisis. Now, come out and call people suicidal denial for being skeptical, it’s not super smart in a crisis, is it? I can even say is a bit judgmental.  I mean, have you even heard the other side of the story? I think I can prove why I am skeptical. Am I right? Am I wrong?  No one knows!  Because even one of my son’s doctors said “who knows, maybe in 10 years from now we will say, that was not a good idea.” Or maybe, just maybe a few of us. A very few of us do know about it, and then the game is not monopoly. The real game is hunger games.

Right or wrong I am human,  so I would appreciate less judgment and more respect in my belief.  See, the problem is you! And no I never get offended, I just might think you are an asshole, and you don’t fuck with my feelings. Not again, because my #1 rule in my house (mind, body and soul) is the story does not repeat itself. I broke the cycle!

I am more human than human.

My name is Rirou and I want to conquer the world.

Hey brother Christian with your high and mighty errand
Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying
Hey sister bleeding heart with all of your compassion
Your labors soothe the hurt but can’t assuage temptation

Hey man of science with your perfect rules of measure
Can you improve this place with the data that you gather?
Hey mother mercy can your loins bear fruit forever?
Is your fecundity a trammel or a treasure?And I want to conquer the world
Give all the idiots a brand new religion
Put an end to poverty, uncleanliness and toil
Promote equality in all of my decisions
With a quick wink of the eye
And a “God you must be joking”

Hey mister diplomat with your worldly aspirations
Did you see your children cry when you left them at the station?
Hey moral soldier you’ve got righteous proclamation
And precious tomes to fuel your pulpy conflagrations

And I want to conquer the world
Give all the idiots a brand new religion
Put an end to poverty, uncleanliness and toil
Promote equality in all of my decisionsI want to conquer the world
Expose the culprits and feed them to the children
I’ll do away with air pollution and then I’ll save the whales
We’ll have peace on earth and global communion

I want to conquer the world
I want to conquer the world
I want to conquer the world
I want to conquer the world

Punkaste,

Rirou!

A solo ironman during COVID-19

Have you ever thought of doing an ironman solo? Meaning, no race just you and you for 140.6 miles? Well, let me introduce you:

Name: Ari Varon

Age: 43

Profession: Run my own business, sell products into the market in China, sell Israeli technology into China.

1-On June 21st you decided to do a solo ironman since most races was cancelled due to covid-19, can you tell us why? (please tell distances)

Corona Stops Competitions, Not an Ironman.

I finished a solo IronMan Distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) on June 21st. It took me a moment to decide to do it, 3.5 months to train for it and just over 13 hours to finish it.

When Corona started shutdowns and restrictions I had just signed up for an official Ironman competition in Austria July 5th, 2020. I was therefore faced with a simple choice, let Corona dictate my life, or take control of my actions despite Corona. I started losing my desire and motivation for training at all, and I didn’t like that. So it was either find a plan B or basically realized I was on the path to stop training.

Truthfully, it was not such a daring or glorious decision. For me, it was part of listening to my inner self, not letting the fear of goal setting set me back and believing that anything and potentially everything is possible if we stop telling ourselves no.

I won’t say I wasn’t afraid to set the goal of a solo Ironman. But with the onset of lockdowns and travel restrictions, I preferred to do something rather than just complain that Corona canceled my competition.

 So why… I train alone anyway so a solo Ironman seemed better than none at all.

2- was that your first ironman?

My first Ironman distance triathlon was the Israman on January 31st, 2020. Taking place in Eilat Israel, it is considered one of the toughest Ironman distance competitions because of the intense uphills on the bike (2900m elevation gain) and the intense downhill on the run (10km with over 700m downhill).

After completing the Israman, I wanted to have the experience of an Ironman Branded competition. I have heard much that the group experiences is exceptional. So I set my goals on a European competition, not far from my home in Tel Aviv Israel.

3- how did you get into the sport? And why ironman?

I slid into triathlons accidently and naturally; Ironman distance by just not stopping.

January 2019 I made a resolution to get off the couch and run 5km in under 30 minutes by my birthday March 30th. Although a true goal, seemed to achievable to be a good new years resolution so I upgraded to a Sprint Triathlon. A friend of mine who had done a few 70.3s told me – anyone can do a sprint, set your goal for an Olympic length and I literally told her, no way that’s way too much.

Early march I did the sprint triathlon, March 26th I upgraded to the Olympic length. I then set my goals for a 70.3 which I did June 20th. It was in the last 10km of that 70.3 that I decided to go for the what I had previously thought was impossible, the full Ironman. I realized, not only was it no longer impossible, it was totally achievable.

I then followed the dear advice of the one friend I knew who had done an Ironman (3X IM finisher). Understand that a 70.3 is different beast than a full Ironman and get a coach. I then searched coaches with IM experience for people on low carb diet and the first person I contacted turned out to be the perfect fit – IM specialist with an emphasis on family first.

A bit of background on why a 5km seemed a decent goal. I was born with a club foot, short Achilles tendon. I had surgery at 6 months with the doctor telling my parents, without the surgery he would never walk, with the surgery he would never run. But my parents never told me that. I started running when I was 10, was on the athletics team in high school, special forces in the Israeli Army. All with constant issues with my ankles and recurring problems with injuries.

December 2003, when training for what I hoped would be my first Marathon I hurt myself so badly I couldn’t walk for 3 months and never could run again without injuring myself.

I gained weight, up to 102kg (230lbs). It was only after a conversation with a friend, a runner who was telling me about a 21km run he had, did I realize I wanted to run again. I decided to lose weight so I could run, I figured I needed to get to 85kg or less. I stopped eating grains and sugars, gradually lost weight and at 85kg, decided to run the 5km.

4-You also end up organizing a kids run, how did that happen? And why?

The kids run was definitely one of the highlights of the entire day, that alongside with actually finishing the Solo Ironman.

The Kids run was initiated and implemented by my son’s school, though I made the medals, shirts and kids run logo. Eventually, kids from beyond just my son’s school joined, and we had almost 100 kids joining me in several starts during the run.

I truly intended for the day to be a solo event. All logistics and everything. I realized I did need the help of one friend at the aide station during the second half of the run. For the second half of the run I planned to put an aide station in a single location, one person there, and have myself do 2 km loops (1km in each direction) to simulate an actual race with an aide station every 1 mile or so.

That friend happens to be the most talented guy I know in almost everything. During my training I came up with a logo including the slogan Corona stops competitions, not an Ironman. He turned it into a very professional logo.

When I finally had the guts to tell my wife my plan I showed her the logo and the slogan. She was really touched by the Corona aspect, not letting Corona stop us. This was in the heart of the lockdowns for us.

She secretly showed the logo to PR person. The local news decided to do a mini-documentary on the day of the race, a positive story of news to share during the Corona lockdowns. Then the school heard about it and started the race. Then the Israeli sports organization who runs the Israman heard about the event and put an article out before the race and covered the race during the day.

I will never forget the evening when she told me about the news deciding to cover the race. She said: please don’t kill me, I know you want this to be just us, but the news wants to cover the race. My first thought was: that is exactly what I don’t want, but since it shows that my wife is truly supporting me in her way, it is the best gesture ever. Honestly, my second thought was, why would the news want to cover it.

But the kids run provided almost a 100 kids with a true taste of using sports as a means of excellence in the midst of the Corona pandemic. For me, running with the kids during my race provided a new level of meaning to any event that I could ever participate in.

5-How was your preparation during the pandemic? And how you manage kids, work and training?

KIDS FIRST! I believe that kids and family come first. For me, everything I do revolves around my kids and my family, including how I build my professional life and time with the kids. My wife is an OBGYN resident at the leading hospital in Tel Aviv. She is an AMAZING mother but works a lot. I fill in at home.

During the lockdown I would use trainer in our backyard and we were allowed to run around the block so I did a bunch of loops and internals and elastic strength training to simulate swimming since no pool or beach was allowed so I just hoped that things would calm down enough before June 21st to allow swimming.

The process was amazing! My three boys are young (8, 5, 3.5) The kids were with me while I was on the personal trainer, they ran loops with me and they did the core strength exercises with me. Truthfully, seeing how I could get them truly excited about sports and training was an initial goal of mine and a sincere push to keep training. They kept on asking me when I was getting on the bike that day, or when they could go running with me. That “together” as well as being a positive role model for my kids is a sincere motivation for my training.

6-What was the difficulty training during this period?
To be honest, I enjoy the training. My coach, the best in the world!, guided me through the process very well. For me the training provides me focus, achievement, inner quiet as well as time to let all the noise of life flow out so I can be true to myself. I tell people that when you are in the middle of a 3 hour bike training session, or even a 1 hour internal session, you don’t have the energy to waste on lying to yourself. So, in training your thoughts can actually be pure, if you let them. 

Almost every week when I got my training schedule I would think, there is no way I can do that sequence, that session so many times in a row. But each week as I let things think in, started to let my mind and body flow and not my instinct to stop myself go, things just worked out.

So the difficulty in the training is honestly all mental, its to stop stopping ourselves. It’s to believe in ourselves, it’s to stop listening to all the people who call us crazy. The rest, just works itself out.

7-What was the hardest part during the solo ironman?
In every long training session as well as during the Solo Ironman itself I always have a – what am I doing this crazy thing moment.  But I define endurance as just not stopping. So I just don’t stop, and those moments pass.

The truth is, there were a several things that could be defined as the “hardest” part. The run was harder than I thought from step one and throughout. I had practiced the transition before, even during the 30 Celcius+ heat of the Tel Aviv Summer. But for some reason I couldn’t get my head in the right space to push for a quick time. It was only at the end of the run, the last 10 kms that I realized why. The time I finished in didn’t matter, just to finish. While every step hurt, it was actually when I was running with the kids, even once, walking with my youngest son who said, Dad walk with me that I realized, those moments were what makes the entire run worthwile. Had I been pushing to finish fast, I would have missed those moments. The funny things about an Ironman, it was after I finally realized that, at km 32 of the race, that I started to finally feel comfortable and pick up the pace without really needing breaks.

 But the idea of an Ironman for me is making impossible possible. Taking a big red line of “impossible” and separating it into a bunch of little light green lines that you can achieve. Both in the training as well as in the logistics and in life.

Logistically I had to plan every single aspect down with lots of backup. 10L of water with me for the bike, all the nutrition, backup and equipment if I had a flat tire, places to ride on various amounts of wind (sometimes up to 26km an hour pushing against you).

But since I had lots of time to think and prepare during the longer training sessions, it all worked itself out.

8- Did you think about quitting? If yes, what made you keep going?

Never about quitting per se. Almost every time about stopping, I guess there is a slight difference.

For me all goals are personal, all challenges are with yourself and the competition is to make yourself better not beat somebody else. So it was always an inner self moment, and that helped keep it pure.

9- did this event changed you in any way shape of form?
It has only been a week since I finished so I am only starting to realize how it changed me. I think it changed me in two core ways: first, always make the impossible possible. I implement that now in every aspect of my life, with my kids and with my work. I am not sure what my next big goal is, but once I identify the idea that is a bit scary at first and seems impossible, I will know I found it. Second, inspiration. I realize this is the first thing I can think of where people have come to me and told me I have inspired them to do better, be better and achieve more. That is a tremendous feeling. That is something I want more of, helping other people be better at what they do. I am not sure exactly what that means in practice, but I am finding out.

10- did this quarantine changed you?

To be honest, the quarantine in Israel was a very positive time for myself and my family. First of all, its all about attitude. As soon as we understood that quarantine was on the way, we decided to use the time to strengthen our family. Also, my wife is an OBGYN MD at the Tel Aviv hospital so her hours are normally crazy. During quarantine, she worked, on what we call the frontline, but she was also home. As a family, we had time to bond, to play, to train together and overall, to be together. So if anything, it changed us as a family in very positive way.

11-anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you Coach! Your Zen perspective towards training and life has changed my attitude towards life and created the confidence in myself to not only finish 2 Ironmans in less than 5 months, but more importantly be a better person, father, partner and push for excellence in all fields.

And thanks for only telling me you thought I was crazy for planning a solo Ironman, after I finished.

12- what touches your soul?

The way people told me my solo event inspired them, that has touched my soul in ways I never felt before. Not in a pat myself on the back type of way. But they told me that their kids will always remember the event, they went to sleep with the medals, they were proud to have been in an Ironman race themselves and they now believe they can do it themselves. The inspiration that gives people, that touches my soul and I want to keep on doing that part again.

13- an example on how not to be an asshole:

Not being an asshole is an attitude and way of life. It is something we have to remind ourselves in every action that we do. With three young boys, there is a lot of challenging going on in my house. When my kids challenge me, I have to remind myself to be strict, but fair. Never to lie, not to be an asshole. But the only way not to be an asshole is to believe in yourself, have confidence and be respectful in ever thing that you do, all day every day.

That’s what’s all about

The big question is why? What is the purpose of Rirou doing all of this. Well, this sounds a little crazy. Since a little kid Rirou became fascinated with Iron Maiden, they were like gods to him and their music touch his soul like no other music. Well maybe ACDC since that was his first album. Around 7 years old he wanted to play the guitar and let his hair grow like the Maiden guys. That never really happened and Rirou did not say a word about it for years. On top of all that, the art Rirou wanted to do was considered evil. Well, due to that Rirou became an angry man. Rirou did not dream about being famous, he just wanted to rock, is that simple!

As a kid Rirou has always been fascinated with Star Wars and he said his first kid would be called Luke. As a young kid he wanted to have 2 kids a boy and a girl. The boy he wanted to call Luke, because of Luke Skywalker his favorite character growing up. That was something his friends reminded him not long ago.

Luke was born a natural Rock star and fan of ACDC. Rirou knew it that history could not repeat itself, not with his kids. So Rirou and his family didn’t think twice they ran to the hills, they ran for their lives and moved to Colorado. Rirou always trusted the metal gods…

Since Luke became a really big fan of ACDC, and Rirou’s wife said: “Boy you can turn any kid into a Rock fan”, which is true, he had turned many kids into rock fans during his life time. Just a side note Rirou does not talk about his wife cause she likes to be behind the scenes. If you are married, you know what he is talking about, she is the boss. Anyways, that was a sign for Rirou so he created a master plan after all dream without a plan is just a wish.

The master plan

Rirou’s master plan is simple; transform classical kids songs into punk song for kids and create some of his own, while learning his favorite songs in the guitar. This way he could change the world by creating punk rock songs for kids, and building an army of little punks. When those kids grow up, they can read Rirou’s holy E-books of the Religion he created and became his own Pope. That is Rirou’s master plan to leave his mark, the mark of the beast. Again, the gods iron maiden were guiding Rirou the number of the beast song, Rirou’s favorite of all times. In that song he said, “I will be back…and make my evil take its course and here we are!

What makes this plan so hilarious is that it fits right into a description of a midlife crisis, and it seems pure evil for some people or even completely insane. But it’s not like that, the project is pure unconditional love, and is not a midlife crisis. Is simply healing.

Rirou always told his clients that they need a purpose to whatever they want to hit a goal. We always need a reason why we do things, and seems like this is a higher purpose for Rirou. What makes this project hilarious and ironic is:

  1. A 40 year old learning how to sing and play the guitar it is funny, because it is fun to be a beginner in something, specially at this age. Also, doing that is like being a kid again, and you must agree that a 40 year old man having fun like a kid is beyond hilarious.
  2. Rirou uses the enemy (Religion) as a metaphor to create his project to punk the world.
  3. Rirou is a pope of his own Religion, and Rirou’s archenemy is the Pope that prohibited Iron Maiden to play in Chile in 1992.
  4. For many metal, punk and death metal is considered evil is what makes Rirou a better Dad, husband and human.
  5. Rirou transformed his anger into something beautiful, even if you don’t like the music, the idea is based in pure love; and that is beautiful.
  6. Rirou does have a comedy show but for now is in Portuguese. In the show Rirou goes to therapy, and since therapy is made in the first language, for now is in Portuguese. English maybe soon (long story).

Rirou had this plan for awhile now, and on 02/20/2020 he sang live for the first time ever and that was the day he said “fuck depression, let’s rock” and Rock-it-ology establish. Rirou was having a hard time implementing the plan, so this 40 introspective days through the COVID-420 made Rirou lose his fear and became the Punk Rocker Dad. What makes it so hilarious is that he just have to be himself!

The conclusion is: Looking good naked and not afraid, that is what’s all about! Maybe life is all about the hokey pokey, you know… “you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what is all about.

Genius or insane? I let you decide as this project takes off, because Rirou found himself, he just still didn’t figure it out if he is a genius or insane in the brain.

Feel Good,

Rirou

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