…and the vision that was planted in my brain …still remains, within the sounds …of silence

A reprint from my journal of 1988…

…and the vision that was planted in by brain …still remains, within the sounds …of silence

…lyrics by Paul Simon. Music composed by Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel

WOW! What powerful words written and put to music by two powerful people…Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel


Cheryl has put a piece of paper between the gong and the strike of our grandfather-clock so it’s hourly ‘Hello’ doesn’t awaken anyone. It wouldn’t bother me as the four AM alarm clock in my head has already gone off. This is the time you’ll find me each morning sitting in my chair in our den…with protein drink already in hand. It’s also the perfect time for reflection of days gone by as well as thoughts on the upcoming day.

Sitting in total silence I’m accompanied only by the light produced from a small table lamp. Glancing toward the bookcase, my eyes quickly come to rest on an accounting book from my college days at USC. It’s called ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES by Niswonger and Fess…9th edition. The pages are dog-eared and written in pencil along the edges are notes from class. There’s even one that says; Susan…then her phone number, causing me to think back about my classmates and wonder where they are now.

A further glance reveals only the slight edges of a dusty pair of black posing trunks that I wore while training for the 1973 Mr. South Carolina Contest. I’m still not sure how or why this became their resting place. They’re behind a stack of books and I’m thinking that Cheryl doesn’t even know they exist or they would have been long gone by now…but for me…its okay. This entire scenario will usually give me at least an hour to clear my head without disturbing my own vision that was already planted in my brain…as it still remains within the sounds of my own silence.

My hour quickly goes by and I’m brought back to reality with the sounds of small feet as they run down the hallway. Coming into view are two small and still sleepy children protecting their teddy bears with tightly wrapped arms…and directly behind is the leader of the pack…Cheryl.

Breakfast orders are announced as dear ‘ole dad trades in his think tank thoughts for a kitchen apron. The TV goes on so everyone can make sure Big Bird and the rest of the gang are okay as background noise in our household is provided by the ringing of the first phone call of the new day. Ladies and Gentleman…and Children of all ages! Welcome to today’s circus…signaling our day is officially underway!

(the above…reprinted from my journal of 1988)

An early morning journey to the center of our minds is good therapy. It lets you unravel and declutter; as you feel the existence of actually taking time to breathe the air that surrounds us rather than just being a constant inhaling and exhaling machine. A machine that simply inhales and exhales gets us nowhere as it is simply a means to an end. It also keeps us on the limited plane of space causing us only to exist…rather than live. What has any of this got to do with fitness…stay with me!

I’ve preached to you many times about the six pieces to the fitness puzzle. They are all of equal importance and if you leave even one of them out; there is a good chance your fitness journey will fail! I’m going to say that one more time:


These are Quick Notes but let’s briefly explore each one:

1. SELF-VISUALIZATION – or actually using your mind to foresee the future by seeing yourself as you travel along your fitness journey…also seeing the end result. Playing mind games is extremely important. Let’s say that your goal is to lose thirty pounds but to build or keep muscle tone at the same time. Cutting to the chase…if your goal is for your body to feel great as well as look great, I want you to first do this: Find a place that is safe…then…with phones and TV’s off… close your eyes for about five minutes. The circle driveway at May’s Park works well with me. I’m under a big shade tree and can let my seat back and totally relax.

Next I want you to think good thoughts…and only good thoughts! In your mind YOU NEED TO SEE THE END RESULT OF YOUR GOALS! Imagine that you’re lying on a big thick towel on a white sandy beach in one of those far-a-way places with strange sounding names. Passer- byers are slowing down to take a look at you! WOW! …what a great feeling of validation for all of your hard earned work at the gym! Did you just get goose bumps? …you should have! It will be an exciting feeling and it’s all in your ‘not too far off future’ if you will start your fitness journey today.

2. DE-CLUTTERING YOUR MIND OR KEEPING A CLEAR HEAD – I’m not sure de-cluttering is even a word but you know what I mean…besides; Emily Post is probably not even reading this. Keeping the cob webs out of your head is extremely important and any excess baggage needs to be left at the doorway to the gym. Today’s world can be extremely challenging but really no different than it was for our parents’ generation…and the generation before them.

Most of us are juggling work with school as well as taking care of our families while also possibly helping out with aging parents. Then there is always the matter of figuring out how we could have used our debit card so much, causing our checking account to go from five-hundred dollars to only five. You have to get all of this out of your mind. Another tool that works is again a brief period of meditation. As you pull into the parking lot at the gym…take a few minutes to again just think good thoughts. Organize your upcoming training session in your head…de-clutter your mind.

3. PROPER SLEEP… means different things to different people. Six hours may be fine for you. I need eight to feel relaxed for the upcoming day…nine even feels better! Also those mid-morning or mid-afternoon twenty minute (or longer) naps can also help out.

4. PROPER NUTRITION… again, can be different for us all. The important thing to remember is on your fitness journey you don’t need to eat just tree bark! Life as well as good food is made to enjoy! You might think I’m crazy (could be debated) but to lose weight and keep valuable lean muscle tissue at the same time you have to eat! You simply eat good foods such as veggies…good proteins and good complex carbs. A small amount of fats are also good as fat stores valuable energy. Eating fats doesn’t make you fat. Eating donuts makes you fat! Also enjoy a small amount of your favorite desert on the weekend by rewarding yourself for a great week of eating right and training at the gym. Key words here: small amount.

5. PROPER EXERCISE – Again relative. If you’re training for the Mr. or Ms. America contest you may spend several hours each day in the gym…but that’s probably not you. You want to keep off the unsightly fat while keeping good muscle so usually a good forty-five minute to an hour workout three to four days each week is fine.

6. LIVING A BALANCED LIFE – It’s easy to get wrapped up in the Me Thing! …especially as your weight begins coming off and validation is forthcoming from your peers with those long sought-after words of “WOW…YOU LOOK FANTASTIC! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING!”…but remember; this is only part of your world. We build our body for internal as well as external validation. Anything else is simply left over for the Prima Donnas out there prancing around. I’m glad that’s not you! If you feel good…you’ll know it. If you look good…you’ll also know it. Remember; in your fitness journey you are only in competition with one person…and that person is you! Never…and I mean NEVER compare your journey to anyone else’s.

Oh… I can’t let you go without a further note on that much used dog-eared page from my accounting book that has Susan’s phone number scribbled in haste. Because of curiosity only; I’ve been tempted thru the years to see if it still works…but then why add chaos to calamity. In case Cheryl ever finds it, my story is that I have no recollection of who she is (or was) and don’t have a clue how her name got there! That’s my final story…and as the rest goes…I’m definitely sticking to it!

I will venture one step further in possibly tightening the noose: If it’s not a working number I’ll pay you five-hundred dollars for the correct one! Again…just out of curiosity!

Always stick to your own story by making fitness a way of life!

Well…I guess that’s a wrap; at least ‘til tomorrow morning. Until then; keep smiling as it’s good for your face muscles. It also makes people wonder what you’ve been up to!


From your friend still ‘out there’ …eight miles high on life…and climbing! …sj

PS: …anyone have a room for rent? If Cheryl reads this; I may need it!

All credit(s) to any mention of the song SOUND OF SILENCE or it’s lyrics are given to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel individually; as well as SIMON & GARFUNKEL, collectively…or the rightful owners.
Not for commercial use.

Copyright © . 2018 . Steve Johnson

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