Of struggle, gratitude and the elk


Are you content with your level in life? No-one owes you a single, solitary bean. It’s all down to you: The level you are on, what you make of it, and the gratitude you feel.

It’s fair to say that podcaster Joe Rogan and his friend, bowhunter Cameron Hanes, are on a different level to the rest of us*. This week I was transfixed by Messrs Rogan and Hanes’ three-hour podcast chat about a subject to which I can comfortably say I’d never previously given a moment’s thought: elk hunting with bow and arrow.

The arrows don’t care

The macho is strong here. “A tent and a backpack, a bow and arrow and some guts.” This, for Rogan, is all you need to test yourself in the world of elk hunting. But the most important thing you can bring is your own resolve. "The arrows don’t care. The animals don’t care if you think you’re a bad motherfucker.”

I am not on the same level as these gents. I don’t know if I would want to be.** Yet I was fascinated by their talk of the places within their own hearts and minds that hunting takes them. A oneness with nature. An access to a primal, pre-civilisation existence that most of us will never know (Trump willing). A knowledge that through this struggle you can transcend, you can go beyond your level.

I love Rogan’s argument that struggle is “a vehicle for human potential”:

“One of the things that I always tell people that I think you should do is: ‘Do shit that’s difficult.’ It’s very important to struggle. Struggle is a vehicle for human potential. You get better as a person. You can push through things and get better. And that applies to all things in life.”

Just in there, grinding


If there is such a thing as a long-term reader of this blog, they might know that I’ve been struggling with yoga for about 18 months now. I am certainly not good at it. I was always appalling at PE at school. I’m sure I’m no better now. I will never be a master Yogi. But I love yoga, and I love how it shows me that I can do things I never thought I’d be able to.***

I was delighted to hear Rogan digress from hunting to talk about yoga:

“I like yoga class for the same reason. I go in there, it’s me and a bunch of housewives. And they’re kicking ass more than I am. I watch these ladies and I watch their mental strength and fortitude while they’re gruelling their way through this 104 degree temperature, holding these poses. I’m watching the sweat pour off their face. And they’re not complaining. They’re just in there, grinding. That’s fucking so important in this life. This life doesn’t have enough of that. There’s not enough struggle. You don’t get to know yourself without struggle. You don’t get to know who you are, really, unless you’re tested.”

Rogan and Hanes appear to share a singular view on life. “There are levels”, they agree. Everyone is on one level or another. The level on which you operate is entirely up to you.

Take every opportunity you can to be grateful


No matter what level you are on, gratitude for your lot in life is also to be recommended.

The macho is also strong in Henry Rollins**** But with age has come humour and perspective, too. He talks on his own podcast about the relative trials and tribulations of constantly being asked over the past 30-something years about his time in hardcore punk legends Black Flag*****:

“How hard is that, to be asked about some music you made? It’s really not the worst thing that ever happened. So the thing you need to do is take every opportunity you can to be grateful.”******

Come at your life and your level from a place of gratitude, and embrace the struggle. Today and always.


* There must be more than 24 hours in a day for each of these gents. Joe Rogan is a mixed martial arts fighter, stand-up comedian, TV host, podcaster and stoner philosopher. Hanes doesn’t content himself with elk. He lifts weights, practices archery and somehow finds time to do a full-time job. He also runs a marathon every day, and is in training for a TWO-HUNDRED AND THIRTY-EIGHT MILE endurance race entitled, somewhat misleadingly, the Moab 200, which takes place in October 2017. The race trailer video really is a sight to be seen…

** For example, my views on hunting do not correspond 100% with theirs. I don’t want to condone, condemn or even debate these gents’ take on hunting here. What fascinates me is the depth of their passion for this topic, their openness about the mental and emotional states that hunting opens up for them, and what they get from this struggle.

*** My current favourite yoga routine, via Yoga With Adriene:

**** My one-word summary of Henry Rollins from the last time I mentioned him on this blog: “Intense.”

***** The magic of internetland means you can immediately enjoy Black Flag’s excellent Damaged album:

****** Phil Collins may have a surname that rhymes with that of Henry Rollins. But his view on dealing with people who dare to try and be his fans is somewhat different. I read an interview with him***** a year or two back in which he said words to the effect of (as I can’t find a link to it, I am forced to paraphrase as best I can): “When people come to me and say they’re a fan, I say ‘Oh yeah? Name your favourite three songs of mine.’ If they say things like You Can’t Hurry Love, I know they’re not real fans.” Is this any way to view the people who put that wee slice of bread and that tiny wee bit of butter on your plate? And if anyone out there might be able to provide a link to this most ungrateful of interviews I would be, well, grateful!

******* See my previous post for full disclosure of my appetite for reading about musicians I don’t like. Mr Collins falls into this category. And yes, this is another footnote to a footnote.********

******** Well, why not, eh? Take care, my friend.


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