A Christmas Tale

by | Dec 23, 2002 | Archives

This true story gives us a free health tip for the Christmas season.

Great luck in my early years brought me teachers who were positive role models. A recent message outlined how my grade school music teacher greatly influenced my life. Another teacher, in PE was another powerful guiding light. Here is a free tip I learned from him 40 years ago that you can use now.

His name was Frank Smith, (MISTER Smith no one would even think of calling him Frank. This was like the name that cannot be spoken). He was a tough guy, a former Marine who had a bunch of machine gun bullet scars stitched across his stomach, so the story amongst us guys in the jock room went. Perhaps he was a drill sergeant. He was at heart. If any of us made a single mistake we hit the floor and did pushups or curl ups till we ached.This made us good…and strong, which was his goal. When we played badly in football games we crawled on our knees back to the bus. Not if we lost, but if we did not give our best. MISTER Smith did not care if we won or lost, just that we gave our all. I was the lousiest player on the team, but he gave me the uniform of a much better player because I tried so hard.

One day just before Christmas we had to cross the entire playing field in a spider walk, (on our hands and feet). This was agony for me (I was a 4 foot 11 inch 165 pound chubbo in those days) and when everyone else had reached the locker room, I still had thirty yards to go. The pain was excruciating, I could not breath, was hot, sweaty and was dying, but would not give up. One hand, one foot, one hand. I just closed my mind and kept plodding. He was there all the way. “Come on Scotty, you can do it. Don't give up.”

I made it and literally tumbled down the stairs from exhaustion into the locker room. MISTER Smith stopped all the boys and said, “This man plays in tomorrow's game.” He knew I was not the best player being so fat and slow, but just getting that uniform changed my life. That energy helped me to grow. I made two keys plays as a guard in that game, once sacking the other teams quarterback (I was more surprised than the QB was) and a vital tackle.I cannot even remember if we won or lost but do know this success stunned me out of thinking I could not do physical things. That encouragement and belief helped me learn to never, ever give up! I suddenly lost 20 pounds and as a 13-year-old boy who loved sports, believe me this changed my life in every way. I only wish I knew where MISTER Smith is now “Thanks, Mr. Smith, that Christmas game changed my life!”

Yet it took me 40 years and a shaman to understand a powerful health tip MISTER Smith had taught. He made us take a cold shower after each workout. When finished with PE, we hit the locker room, soaped up, cleaned off and then before we left, had to get under and stay for a bit under an icy cold stream. MISTER Smith would stand at the shower exit and test each person's shoulder. If it was not chilled, back into the water!

Then after school no one mentioned this until three years ago several events (as they so often do) coincided. Merri and I moved to the Andes and invited a shaman and his apprentices to live with us on our land. We lived as they did, said their prayers, ate their food, woke and rested when they did and joined in on their work and exercises.

Each morning we rose at 4:30 to 5:00am (before the sunrise) and did a series of strenuous exercises.

Then the shaman insisted that we take a cold shower! Here is why he explained. The body gets heated up and our blood has lost oxygen in it. In the cold shower the body rushes this blood to the vital organs to protect them and keep them warm. This oxygen bath of the organs is healing, enhances the immune system and helps the organs detoxify. Makes sense to me and from that day (most mornings) I either take a cold shower after my morning exercise and hot shower, or when at home in North Carolina, jump in the creek. This is very stimulating when the temperature is 10 or 15 degrees F!

This is the other benefit when you can get the water really cold. The skin is so stimulated and the body really awakens. You feel so fresh and lose your fear of the cold.

This may not seem like the easiest way to enhance your health, but it is easier than you think. Does not cost a cent and once you get in the habit, nothing feels better.

Start with the water lukewarm. Each day turn it a little cooler until reaching the temperature you feel is brisk and invigorating for you. This is not a contest. Some body types like and need water warmer than others. Remember the important Golden Rule of healthy living, “Medicine is dose”. Also be careful in any shower (at all times) that you do not slip. Have a good handrail and non slip surface to help you stay afoot when the chilly water arrives!

Until next message may this holiday season be great for you.