ATGATT: Merely A Starting Point

by Liz Jansen

Anyone who rides a motorcycle has heard of the importance of ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time). Whether you adopt it into practice is a personal choice. While I’ve always been an ATGATT rider and advocate, my recent accident has reinforced the importance of suiting up with high quality, properly fitted gear. While covering up when riding is a wise decision, all gear is not created equal, and your choice in gear can make a significant decision on how well you’re protected.

In preparing for my travels to South America, my strategy was to have the best possible gear with the highest functional value, in the fewest number of pieces. After all, space is at a premium. That strategy paid off in spades.

Here’s what I was wearing from head to toe, and how it performed.

IMG_3223 helmet front sm
IMG_3221 helmet back sm

  1. Schuberth C3W helmet. In reality, I don’t know how many bangs my helmet took. I know that I bounced and slid on gravel before coming to an abrupt stop, but you’d never know it to look at my helmet. There’s barely a mark on it and I did not suffer a head injury. Because it was properly fitted, it held my head firm so there was no bloody nose, cut lips or loose teeth. I wanted to get it off as quickly as possible but with a broken left shoulder and a dislocated right thumb I couldn’t do it by myself. It’s so easy to get on and off, I was able to give brief instructions to the Good Samaritan who stopped to help and remove it in no time. I will however replace the helmet. Schuberth has an excellent Mobility program whereby if the helmet is damaged in an accident within a certain time frame, you can replace it for just $300USD.   
    IMG_3217 jacket right sm
    IMG_3216 jacket left sm
    IMG_3225 pants sm
  2. BMW TourShell jacket and pants. I selected this riding suit for it’s combination of function, fit, versatility, and looks. I’ve been super impressed with how it performed under regular riding conditions (Read my review on Women Riders Now) and astounded at how it performed under duress. Of course pants and jacket picked up scuffs and dirt, but there are no tears or abrasions in the fabric. A minor abrasion on my left hip resulted from skin rubbing against my base layer, not the road. The exterior’s abrasion resistance, the high quality, well designed and strategically placed armor took most of the impact. Obviously no amount of padding can provide 100% protection when you take all your weight on one shoulder.IMG_3227 gloves sm
  3. BMW gloves. It was a cold start to the morning so I was wearing the ProWinter gloves. There’s a superficial mark where my thumb hung onto the throttle, but otherwise, they’re like new, with lots of function left in them.IMG_3226 boots sm
  4. BMW boots. The ProTouring 2 Ladies Boots offer significant foot and shin protection without sacrificing comfort or movement. My feet were completely unharmed—no bruises, strains or sprains. (Read my review on Women Riders Now.)
  5. AltRider crash bars. Although I’ve had my bike for three years, I only put the engine guards and skid plate on just prior to departing for my trip to South America. No one plans to crash, but I thought it prudent to protect from tip-overs, given the unknown terrain I’d be navigating. I won’t be without them again. This happened in my home country and I’m told that they saved my legs. Because I was riding on deep, loose gravel, I was standing the whole way on that road. I stayed with the bike until it stopped, when I was easily able to scramble out from under it and climb out of the ditch to hail a passerby. Bars on both sides of my bike sustained significant damage but they did their job in protecting me and my bike’s engine.
  6. Touratech panniers. Although not officially protective gear and fabricated from aluminum, they stopped the bike from going over completely on its sides. The mounting frame was bent and one pannier was completely pulled off and thrown away from the bike, but along with the engine guards, they provided secondary line of defense.

Budget is always a constraint when purchasing gear and accessories. I prefer to have fewer, higher quality than a wardrobe of gear with token protection. There are many brands other than those listed that go above and beyond the minimum requirements. Making sure they fit properly can be even more important than their protective qualities.

Riding a motorcycle can be risky business, but there are a multitude of ways to mitigate that risk. Allocate your purchases wisely and go above ATGATT. Hopefully you never have to test it, but if you do, you and your family will be thankful for that decision.

 

 

 

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Posted in Gear, Motorcycle Tips

10 Gifts for Healing

by Liz Jansen

medium_7350398822Two weeks and two days ago, while riding through rural Alberta on a lovely late summer day, my plans changed. I was headed for Blackfoot Crossing and Namaka, the farming community where my dad spent most of his childhood, and where his heart still resides. Although you can’t find it on a map and there’s very little evidence of what was once a bustling railroad stop, the locals still know it as Namaka.

Not only did a motorcycle accident prevent me from getting there that day, three weeks into what was to be a minimum year long to South America, it turned those plans upside down and altered the course of my journey.

While the exact implications for my quest have yet to unfold, there was an immediate knowing that this was a life-changing moment. There was no question my left shoulder was severely injured, and I wouldn’t be able to ride for a while.

With bike and body debilitated, it was an unfortunate turn of events, yet much good fortune was already headed my way. My heart is filled with gratitude for these people and events.

  1. Jim C.—the ultimate Good Samaritan. Driving to a renovation project, his day was changed too when I climbed out of the ditch and flagged him and his white pick up down for help. Doctor’s told me his willingness to drive me 90 minutes to a Calgary hospital, far out of his way, was instrumental in containing my injury and preventing complications.
  2. John Colyer. I initially contacted this Calgarian in mid June for an article I was writing for a client. As it turned out, John and I were both headed to the Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meeting in Nakusp, BC, so we made arrangements to meet. The interview didn’t get done (and still hasn’t) but when I needed help in Calgary, it was John I called.  He and his mother Beryl have been exceptionally kind and accommodating. He looked after my bike when I couldn’t, and drove 20+ miles to where I was camped, packed up my tent and belongings and brought them back to his place.  After surgery and a six-day hospital stay, it was wonderful to have a place to receive care, recuperate and tend to administrative matters before heading back to Ontario.
  3. Positive energy. I’ve been blown away and buoyed by the flood of messages with support, encouragement, and healing energy. One has no idea how much this means until you need it. To a one, you’ve touched my spirit, reinforced the importance of this quest, and understood that there’s no question it will continue in some manner. I’m surrounded by an amazing circle of wonderful friends.
  4. Motorcycle insurance. Two business days before I was to leave, I called my motorcycle insurer about a question regarding out of country coverage. That’s when I discovered that when I’d sold my car, we’d inadvertently cancelled my motorcycle insurance. Bad enough that I’d been riding around for three weeks uninsured, but I was close to setting off indefinitely without any insurance. Fortunately we got a new policy in place immediately.
  5. Medical care. I received excellent care at South Health Campus in Calgary, and was able to have surgery the day following my accident. A private room with a view of the Rocky Mountains, expertise, professionalism and compassion from all staff is my indelible recollection of that hospital stay. All of that contributed to setting me well on the road to recovery. And how synchronous to have a nurse called Tenari—pretty close to my bike’s Ténéré.
  6. Location. This event took place on what I thought was my last day in Alberta, where my Ontario provincial health care benefits were accepted seamlessly. Had this happened in British Columbia, Washington, or in Central or South America, it would have been much more complex and costly, notwithstanding comprehensive out of country coverage.
  7. Health care benefits. Until now, I hadn’t considered the Medical Rehabilitation Benefits available through my motorcycle insurance policy with TD Meloche Monnex. I certainly didn’t expect to need them and when comparison shopping, my focus was on premiums, liability coverage and provisions for getting my bike back on its feet, should the need arise. Not only have I received outstanding customer service, this provision has provided considerable cost relief and alleviated a significant financial burden for benefits not otherwise covered.
  8. Justin Swanson. Customer service representative at Blackfoot Motosports in Calgary, Justin has professionally and compassionately tended to my questions and my motorcycle, and liaised with my insurance company. While I’ve been familiar with Blackfoot’s stellar reputation for years, I was super impressed after a walk through their enormous shop. Blackfoot is worth a side trip, even if you don’t live in the area.
  9. Physiotherapy. My first follow up appointment with the surgeon was September 8th and I was able to start physio on September 9th, less than two weeks after my accident. Experience had prepared me for far greater wait times to start treatment, which delay recovery. My physiotherapist spent five years with Cirque du Soleil and three years with the Canadian Luge Team before his current position working with elite athletes so I was absolutely confident in his assessment and treatment skills.
  10. Gear. I’ll address this in a subsequent post but it needs to be mentioned here. My choices in protective gear for my self and my bike were invaluable in protecting me from far greater harm. My bike was badly damaged and will almost certainly be written off. While my injuries were significant, I’m not being written off.

There’s no getting around that I suffered a significant physical injury that’s been been very painful, uncomfortable, and limiting. Aside from this, these injuries could have been much worse, and many people deal with far worse life traumas. Focusing on them however, only creates a spiral into a funk, and prolongs healing time and recovery. And I’d miss the extraordinary benefits of these gifts.

None of us knows what’s around the next corner. As VP of Klock Werks Kustom Cycles and multiple land speed record holder Laura Klock maintains, the blessings are in the detours. That’s where you’ll find the gifts for healing and growth. We don’t choose them, but they happen. How we respond is up to us.

photo credit: Mara ~earth light~ via photopin cc

Posted in Expedition, Liz's Stories

Change in Plans

change in plansMy office view for six days—the majestic Rocky Mountains—from a hospital bed in Calgary. A change in plans.

I know that there are two plans for each day: my plan and Spirit’s plan. Sometimes they match; sometimes they don’t. This has come home in a very real way in that my eagerly anticipated quest to South America must pause after just three weeks on the road. One week ago today I had an accident, resulting in a complex L shoulder fracture. My bike will likely be written off. My shoulder has been pinned back together and I’m now recuperating at a friend’s home in Calgary before returning to Ontario.

From an unfortunate situation, I’ve already received countless blessings, including a Good Samaritan who drove me 90 minutes to the hospital, wonderful friends who have extended their home, excellent medical care and unconditional love and offers of help from too many to mention.

My focus now is on letting my body heal, so you’ll see fewer posts for the next little while. I may never understand why this happened but evidently new opportunities await. I’ll blog and post more in the weeks to come, but for now I heal.

Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

Posted in Expedition

Karl Koop | Mennonite History and Culture

Karl Koop Banner

Karl Koop specializes in the history of Christianity and in contemporary theology, and is particularly interested in Anabaptist studies, Systematic Theology and topics related to religious unity.  He has written and co-edited several books and articles related to Anabaptist studies and the study of church doctrine. He is currently working on a project that examines the intersection between the sacred and the secular.

Karl received his Ph.D. from St. Michael’s College at the Toronto School of Theology, an M.Div. from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, a BA from the University of Manitoba, and a Bachelor of Theology from Canadian Mennonite Bible College. Before coming to Canadian Mennonite University. Karl taught at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, and was involved with Mennonite Central Committee in Germany for several years. He has also worked in pastoral ministry.

Listen Now:

Play

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • What is a Mennonite
  • Where Mennonites originate
  • Why there are different “varieties”
  • How the rise of Protestantism created a disconnect with Earth Wisdom
  • How persecution and immigration affects your world view
  • How modern Mennonites are reconnecting with concern for the environment

Ed was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the youngest of 13 children, a Teton Oglala Lakota. He had a good life, with lots of love, and lots of brothers and sisters. Dad was very caring, hard working, loyal, and provided well for the family. Mother, who was Catholic, got very political and well regarded in the community.

He went on to serve a distinguished career as a Marines pilot of an F-4 Phantom, graduate from Law School, but his heart was calling him elsewhere. Because of his success (100,000 copies of Mother Earth Spirituality) as an author, Ed left his law practice. It was important for Ed to get the facts out about Indian history. Academic Indians don’t know it. He did Sundance six times. They weren’t warriors; they don’t go in the military. Somebody had to write it. He’s since written at least ten books with two more on the way.

Resources:

Watch Now:

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Posted in Podcasts

Ed McGaa|Ancestral Wisdom To Heal the Earth

Ancestral Wisdom
This is Part 2 of my interview with Eagle Man. Listen to Part 1: Life and Spirit of a Sioux Warrior here.
Ed McGaa (Eagle Man) is a registered tribal member of the Oglala Sioux and was born on the Pine Ridge reservation. He received his Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and earned a law degree from the University of South Dakota. He has studied under Chief Eagle Feather and Chief Fool’s Crow, both influential Sioux holy men. He is honored by the Sioux for having participated six times in the Sun Dance ceremony. He also served as a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, flying 110 combat missions in F-4 Phantoms, receiving 8 air medals and 2 Crosses of Gallantry, and was recommended for a Distinguished Flying Cross. He’s the author of at least ten books on Indian History and spirituality, including Crazy Horse and Chief Red Cloud, a history of the Sioux and its warriors, Nature’s Way – Native wisdom for living in balance with the earth and American Spirituality.

Listen Now:

Play

Subscribe and leave a review in iTunes for a chance to win a copy of Crazy Horse and Chief Red Cloud.

Spirituality for America CoverIn this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Ed’s spiritual mentors Chiefs Fool’s Crow and Bill Eagle Feather
  • How the Sundance was saved
  • The revival of the Sundance
  • Black Elk’s Vision
  • The Six Powers and what they mean
  • The Danger of the Blue Man
  • How the Six Powers Can Save the Earth
  • And you’ll hear Eagle Man sing and drum

Ed was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the youngest of 13 children, a Teton Oglala Lakota. He had a good life, with lots of love, and lots of brothers and sisters. Dad was very caring, hard working, loyal, and provided well for the family. Mother, who was Catholic, got very political and well regarded in the community.

Crazy Horse CoverHe went on to serve a distinguished career as a Marines pilot of an F-4 Phantom, graduate from Law School, but his heart was calling him elsewhere. Because of his success (100,000 copies of Mother Earth Spirituality) as an author, Ed left his law practice. It was important for Ed to get the facts out about Indian history. Academic Indians don’t know it. He did Sundance six times. They weren’t warriors; they don’t go in the military. Somebody had to write it. He’s since written at least ten books with two more on the way.

Tweetable (Click to Tweet)

“I want to do this [heal the earth] because we’re all related.” Ed McGaa (Eagle Man)

Resources and Books by Ed McGaa include:

Watch Now:

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Posted in Podcasts

10 Ways to Keep Your Brand Fresh

by Liz Jansen

Manufacturers spend millions to create an image through advertising, public relations, and sponsorship. And the job is never done. To keep their brand front and center, they need to be out in the public, with a consistent message and creative new ways to keep awareness high.

medium_491672814Your words and actions speak volumes about your brand. Your brand is an asset to be proud of. Use your voice to express it.

  1. Trust in your vision. Motorcycle brands show their trust by pouring resources into creating awareness. Your intuition tells you when you are aligned with your purpose. Even though you can’t always see around the corner and the road can get bumpy or be in need of repair, you know you’re on the right road.
  2. Courage. It seems ironic that you need courage to be yourself, but that’s the way of things. It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending more time shaping yourself to be who you think you should be rather than just being you. You feel vulnerable when you stand up for yourself—but then, motorcycle riders are used to dealing with vulnerability.
  3. Focus. Keeping your brand alive requires a consistent, focused message. That doesn’t mean being rigid. Rather, make sure your actions support who you are and what you’re here to do.
  4. Trust in yourself. Just as an engine has more power than most riders ever call on, so, too, do you have access to more power than you’ll ever use. Know that it’s there whenever you need it. Don’t be timid on the throttle.
  5. Visibility. Sponsorship and advertising are ways manufacturers get their brands in front of their target audiences. For people to know who you are and what you stand for, you need to engage with others with similar interests.
  6. Currency. Manufacturers research market trends to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating the needs of their audiences and then reaching them. You can stay fresh by carving out time away from your hectic day-to-day activities. A relaxed mind is more receptive to insights and creative ideas.Stay in power. Economic cycles, changing demographics, and competitors are only some of the things that can batter a brand. The ones that survive are those that have been able to adapt while still delivering their core messages.
  7. Confidence. Motorcycle manufacturers aren’t timid about promoting their brands. That would send the wrong message. Stand tall in who you are and what you do. There is only one you, with your unique gifts and attributes.
  8. Receptivity. If a brand isn’t resonating with an audience, it soon shows in sales volume. Be receptive to more effective ways of presenting your brand while not changing its core message.
  9. Play. Progressive organizations stimulate innovation and creativity through team-building workshops and corporate events. All work and no play dulls your spirit and creates boredom. Who wants that?

Consumer brands are created to reach a specific market and generate revenue. Staying fresh is essential for long-term sustainability. Your brand is the voice and image you portray to others.

While not necessary for your physical survival, creating a brand that’s true to you—and keeping it fresh—will feed your spirit. And that sustainability is timeless.

Read more life tips in 75 Tips for Defining Your Brand  Free Download for a limited time.

photo credit: ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓ via photopin cc

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Posted in Branding, Life Lessons from Motorcycles

Meet the Adventurers

by Liz Jansen

Set on a picturesque lake in the majestic Canadian Rockies, it’s easy to understand why this year’s Horizons Unlimited travelers meeting in Nakusp, British Columbia,, attracted a record number of attendees. While the event primarily draws riders from British Columbia, Alberta and Washington, there were people there from all over the world. They come from all walks of life, all ages and all cultures. They share not only an adventurous spirit, but are out there living their dreams.

Meet some of them, starting with my next-door neighbors who kindly boiled water for tea every morning.

adventurersSteve and Janette Douglas started their round-the-world (RTW) trip on June 18 and plan to be away, “for as long as it takes.” After meeting up with their 800cc Triumph Tiger XC in Alaska, they rode in Alaska before heading south into British Columbia. They expect to spend two years in the Americas and then head t Australia or New Zealand.

A Technical Sales Manager, Steve, age 51, had been with Microsoft for 18 years. Janette (48) had worked in Management Information Systems and Database Management for Axa Insurance for 30 years. Both quit their jobs to do this trip. Although they’ve traveled by motorcycle, this is the biggest adventure travel they’ve done together.

Their favorite part of travel is the people they’re meeting along the way, with a special appreciation for the camaraderie they experience with motorcyclists from all over the world. The most difficult part has been the Dalton Highway, because of the slick mud caused by extended rains.

When asked what they would do differently, it would be to start exploring the world sooner, and slow down sooner. They’d also start preparing sooner and try and avoid the last minute crunch. This is not a holiday, they don’t have to rush, and they want to savor the landscapes they’re traveling through.

 

IMG_3077 Steffan smSteffan Troeger, age 31, took a leave from his family’s water well-drilling business and rode his BMW 1150 GS in from Guatemala. After reaching Prudhoe Bay, he’d blown a wheel bearing in Whitehorse, and had to wait five days to get his bike shipped to Edmonton for servicing. The two travel mates he’d been with had gone ahead and he was meeting up with them again in Vancouver.

He’s on the road until at least the end of November, and planning to attend BMW’s convention in Copper Canyon, Mexico on his way home.

Steffan’s favorite part of Canada has been the amazing wildlife and the nice people, especially in small, remote towns. He also gave me great advice—and reassurance—on traveling through Guatemala.

 

 

 

IMG_3078 Petra and Anders smSwedes Petra and Anders Stridefeldt, both 50 are in the middle of their RTW trip. Parents to three grown sons, they live in England and have been on the road 15 months—she on a white, lowered BMW F800GS and he on a black F800GS.

It’s not hard to recall their most difficult day on the road. They arrived in India for the hottest summer in 50 years, with temperatures in the 50’s C. Anders was sick from food poisoning, they’d run out of drinking water, they’d ended up on a freeway where motorcycles are not allowed and the traffic was horrendous. They point out that help always arrives when you need it. They both survived and went on to enjoy their favorite experience – riding up and down an ocean beach in the surf.

 

Petra puts their journey in perspective. As difficult as their days may get, it’s not difficult to travel around the world. Most of the people in it don’t even have a choice about what—or if—they can eat that day. They can just pick up and fly home if they want.

Neither knows much about bike maintenance and they prefer to see what the road serves up, rather than over planning. To learn more about them and follow their adventures, check out their website: www.twobikersoneworld.com.

 

IMG_3080 Antonio smTwenty-eight year old Antonio Romero has just graduated from his Masters in Sociology and is waiting for his thesis to be approved. He rode his single cylinder Yamaha 660 Tenere up from Mexico to spend two months working on the farms in the Okanagan. With Nakusp in easy riding range, he managed to get away for a few days to meet with fellow adventurers.

No stranger to adventure, Antonio’s ridden a Honda 125cc from Mexico to Brazil, and has also moto-traveled through Central Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela.

 

So you see, anyone can do it if you want. In fact, you can realize your dream no matter what it is. Those who are doing it say it’s a matter of prioritizing and then taking the first step. The rest is easy.

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Posted in Adventure

7 Challenges of Life on the Road

With two and a half weeks on the road, I’m still getting my road legs under me. Already I’ve met wonderful people, had amazing experiences, and taken new roads through exceptional beauty.

photo 1Still it’s a period of big adjustment. These are the main ones.

  1. Setting realistic expectations. On Day One I realized that what I thought was a conservative schedule still had too much packed into it. My first official stop was with friends in Fort Frances, Ontario, over a thousand miles from home. Rather than do it in the two days I’d planned and be fatigued every day, I spread it over three. It’s healthier, safer, and much more enjoyable. And why push it? Now I’ve set a rule of no more than 3 consecutive days of riding without at least one day off the bike. And no more than three days of riding/week. Let’s see how that goes. All rules can be changed by management if there is a sound reason.
  2. Finding reliable and convenient Wifi. Yes—even in Canada and the US. I knew this from last year, but it’s still frustrating when a campground or accommodation advertises WiFi and the signal strength is so weak, it’s virtually useless. And you have to sit right beside the router to get anything. Even chains such as Subway don’t all have WiFi. Starbucks and McDonalds are usually a safe bet, although I’m reluctant to purchase their products.
  3. Challenging existing beliefs. Acknowledging that it can still be a workday, even if I’m sitting outdoors in the middle of a beautiful forest. There are so many of these and I’m catching myself holding more of these than I care to admit.
  4. Staying organized. I’ve got two panniers, a large tank bag, a large duffle and two dry bags. It’s not much to carry camping equipment, three-season clothing, minimal tools and technology. With careful choices, I’ve done not bad, but there are lots of bits and pieces. Using smaller logically organized storage packs has been a lifesaver. I made a rule before leaving that nothing goes into a pack loose; it has to be in something. So far I’ve done pretty well—except when I had to stash things quickly into my duffle because of an impending storm.
  5. Dealing with aloneness. For some reason, I’ve felt it more this time than on my six-week trial last year. Perhaps because I’ll be gone for so long this time. It’s all getting used to the rhythm of the road and I really look forward to regular visits with familiar faces along the way. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by invitations from friends. It means more than you know, and is a good lesson for me to remember.
  6. Finding healthy food. Most grocery stores don’t have a good selection of healthy food, especially when I’m also looking for small quantities, a minimum of preparation and no refrigeration. I know I’m selective with my food, but I’m just not putting highly processed, high salt and sugar foods into my body. When I do find a good store, it’s like nirvana.
  7. Maintaining focus and context amidst change. Earlier this week, as I rode out of a small town where I’d camped for the night, I realized I’d stayed in the same town for two nights last year. I didn’t remember it until I drove past the place I’d stayed. I’d come at it from a different direction and under different circumstances so everything looked different. It’s the same with work. Time passes faster than ever here as one day blends into the next. The environment in which I’m working is so different, I need to use extra diligence to stay organized and on time. Fortunately, there are lots of tools to help with this.

Slowly, I’m settling in. Am I enjoying life on the road? Absolutely! I recognize that this is an adjustment period and I have my own demons to defeat. This is where I’m meant to be and miracles and mysteries happen every day. How could I be anything but grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime?

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Posted in Adventure, Expedition

Ed McGaa | Life and Spirit of a Sioux Warrior

McGaa Banner Ed McGaa (Eagle Man) is a registered tribal member of the Oglala Sioux and was born on the Pine Ridge reservation. He received his Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and earned a law degree from the University of South Dakota. He has studied under Chief Eagle Feather and Chief Fool’s Crow, both influential Sioux holy men. He is honored by the Sioux for having participated six times in the Sun Dance ceremony. He also served as a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, flying 110 combat missions in F-4 Phantoms, receiving 8 air medals and 2 Crosses of Gallantry, and was recommended for a Distinguished Flying Cross. He’s the author of at least ten books on Indian History and spirituality, including Crazy Horse and Chief Red Cloud, a history of the Sioux and its warriors, Nature’s Way – Native wisdom for living in balance with the earth and Spirituality of America – Earth Saving Wisdom from the Indigenous. 

Listen Now:

Play

Subscribe and leave a review in iTunes for a chance to win a copy of Spirituality for America.

Spirituality for America CoverIn this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Ed’s happy and nurturing childhood
  • Moving off the reservation under war measures
  • How he avoided boarding school and what that meant
  • His dream of being a Marine pilot and how it came true
  • Why he left his law practice
  • His Sioux mentors and white role models
  • His passion for sharing his message and making sure the truth is heard

Ed was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the youngest of 13 children, a Teton Oglala Lakota. He had a good life, with lots of love, and lots of brothers and sisters. Dad was very caring, hard working, loyal, and provided well for the family. Mother, who was Catholic, got very political and well regarded in the community.

Crazy Horse CoverHe went on to serve a distinguished career as a Marines pilot of an F-4 Phantom, graduate from Law School, but his heart was calling him elsewhere. Because of his success (100,000 copies of Mother Earth Spirituality) as an author, Ed left his law practice. It was important for Ed to get the facts out about Indian history. Academic Indians don’t know it. He did Sundance six times. They weren’t warriors; they don’t go in the military. Somebody had to write it. He’s since written at least ten books with two more on the way.

Tweetable (Click to Tweet)

“Guys were bailing out, getting in the airlines. Not this Indian! I was having a chance to be a real warrior.”  Ed McGaa (Eagle Man)

“You can’t criticize a warrior unless you have done what he has done.” Ed McGaa (Eagle Man)

Resources and Books by Ed McGaa include:

Watch Now:


Subscribe on iTunes and Leave a 5-star review and your name will be entered for the Weekly (during July and August) draw!   

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Posted in Podcasts

10 Choices Within Your Circle of Control

by Liz Jansen

small__12708086944It’s hard to picture anything more invigorating than a motorcycle ride through the countryside. You revel in the wind, the sun, and the freedom. You want it to last forever. In some cases, like riding across the plains, it feels like it does!

But as romantic as it sounds, it does come with a degree of risk. Thus, the romanticism needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of reality.

While your circle of control may be small, it’s powerful. Although no one can argue against the fact that riders are vulnerable to injury, there is much one can do to mitigate that risk—lessons that are just as applicable to your life’s Road.

  1. Riding. Whether you ride at all is your choice. Never ride because someone pressures you to do so. There’s too much at stake. It takes more strength to say no than to give in to peer pressure or the opinions of others.
  2. Skills. Riding proficiently takes a great deal of skill—motor, mental, and emotional. Take the time to develop and practice your skills rather than putting yourself in a situation you’re not ready for—no matter who is pressuring you to do so. It’s not worth it.
  3. Focus. Riding requires you to be 100 percent present in the moment. There’s no room for any intrusions. Fatigue, alcohol, drugs, and emotional and physical upset all impair your ability to respond appropriately. If any of them are present, hang your keys up and wait for another day. Intuition is your best guide—on or off the bike.
  4. Conspicuity. The more visible you are, the more likely it is that other traffic will notice you. Simple. In life, if you want your message to be heard, you’ve got to use your voice, in whatever form you choose.
  5. Maintenance. Two small contact patches of rubber tire are all that connect you to the road. You want your bike in top shape before it sets out with the most precious cargo there is—you! Regular maintenance and a pre-ride inspection go a long way in keeping it in safe operating condition. Being proactive with your own health keeps you in the best shape for enjoying that ride—and life.
  6. Response. You can’t control the weather, other traffic, or the driver that looks at you and then turns right in front of you. You can, however, control how you respond. Practice emergency responses often, in a safe place. That way, when your skills are called on in a real-life situation, your muscle memory will help you avoid an impulsive, panic reaction.
  7. Speed. The faster you go, the less time you have to react or correct errors and the quicker everything can unravel. Excessive speed requires you to concentrate only on the road, missing the beauty of your surroundings. Life passes by quickly enough. There’s no need to rush it or to race into situations you’re not ready for.
  8. Gear. Choose your riding gear wisely. No one plans to separate from their motorcycle, but it doesn’t take much to cause injury. Your skin is not designed for sliding along the pavement—especially your face. Wear a full-face helmet and take advantage of the added protection from body armor to protect the most likely points of contact.
  9. Awareness. Scan your environment continuously, especially at intersections and before taking off when the light turns green. Awareness includes using both your mirrors often. On motorcycles, as in life, the greater your awareness of your surroundings, the better your ability to respond to them.
  10. Riding partners. Many people enjoy group rides for the camaraderie it offers. Most of those riders will admit to having ridden in groups that are poorly managed or included riders who were known to be unsafe. This puts everyone in the group in jeopardy. It’s hard to tell your friends that you’ll meet up with them at your destination, but it’s better than the potential alternative. It’s your choice. If you’re not comfortable being part of a group in your life, it might be better to find a way to pursue that particular goal alone.

Ride confidently and defensively, with both eyes focused on the road and looking in the direction you want to go. No one else is at the controls. Your environment changes constantly, and it’s up to you to respond. How wisely you do that has implications for the rest of your life.

Read more life tips in 75 Tips for Clearing Your Vision  Free Download for a limited time.

photo credit: zoxcleb via photopin cc

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Posted in Life Lessons from Motorcycles, Vision
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