Welding a 3 ft. pass while practicing Iron Core Style
Returned to work this week after 3 weeks of time off. Nice!
On Monday, we got sent home right after lunch because a laborer fell five floors to the basement. He got banged up but he’ll live. On Tuesday, we got sent home too, due to the accident but we still came in to work. It was around 100 degrees that day so that was somewhat of a bright side. Wednesday, the whole job attended a safety meeting and we (Ironworkers) got back to the task at hand after a half hour of words and paperwork. It was high 90′s but not too terrible with the breeze. Thursday was beautifully overcast and relatively mild for mid summer and today we left at 10 because of rain. We were told to stick around til 9:45 (after stopping and starting several times from the coming deluge) but no one (Namely Big Ed) told the operator. So, we all went over to the hoist to get back down but we ended up standing in the rain for 10 minutes because he was taking a shit. Typical.
When I think about how this guy who fell will handle his recovery laying in bed with all the healing apparatus for his leg and ribs I can only wish him luck and fortitude. On Thursday, as most of us remained up top because of the ‘nice’ weather and everyone was getting some shut eye (or stretching in my case) I realized that even though many of us are built for this line of work and many of us need the rest because of it, the half hour or so of laying down on a hard flat surface has some hidden benefits.
It may not be comfortable in the true sense of the word, but by letting our body and back muscles relax onto the hard flat surface of whatever we can find (a beam, plank, pick, etc.) we are actually helping our posture. The antidote for bending over and using our bodies with rigor is to just to let gravity pull our tired (and maybe aching) muscles and body back down to earth (so to speak).
If you can find the time to lay on your floor and do nothing, that’s still much better than sitting on a couch or bed and doing nothing. ‘Adore your floor’ and and let the forces of nature work their subtle magic.
At 46 summers in time and space, I feel effin awesome! Despite the thinning hair and increasing lines I gotta tell ya, I’m in the best shape of my life!
I don’t have six pack abs but I do have a power keg of energy inside me and some words of wisdom I’d like to share with you is that I owe it all to Posture and Breathing. The shape of my spine and the breathing body it supports is the greatest health discovery of my lifetime!
20 + years ago when I began studying Martial Arts, I was privy to some incredible info and skill training. Sure, I’ll kick your ass, but the true power of that education was learning how to hone my body into an integrated and harmonized instrument of health and strength. Yeah, I watch what I eat and my line of work is my exercise but by practicing those Posture and Breathing techniques, I have re-vitalized my daily life (after committing to rehabilitation from a series of injuries) and it has forever altered my physiology and psychology!
I sincerely hope that people who read this will take it to heart that the backbone of our being is proper posture and breathing and by standing tall and exercising your organs (especially the kidneys!) you will never get old! Instead you will age with refined spirit and an awareness of self that is usually reserved for lifelong initiates on the spiritual path.
Don’t be a slouch potato and don’t expect some miracle pill or a doctors bill to slap some sense into you. Your body wants to be healthy and all it needs is a little love and attention!
Have a great day and I wish you all a wellspring of health!
Now that my first child, a beautiful blooming boy, is well into his 2nd year of life and growth, I’ve realized that I have a lot to learn… from him.
As his evolving sense of awareness in the physical and emotional realms are refined into being, this little person with personality, purity of expression and natural perfection has given me (and his mother) a considerable amount of light in which to reflect upon.
The most pertinent ray of energy being emitted is that of his burgeoning breathing body and in specific, his posture. When he sits up straight after he wakes from his nap, raises his arms to be picked up or squats to pick up a toy, his back is not bent. His spine is practically stuck with straightness and stiff with strength. As he grows and fills out of his form, he is like a water balloon that contains the internal pressure of his water (life force). His whole being is busting out of his body and there is no ‘soft spot’ even though his skin is soft. The firmness of his frame is the key component to this big picture. When he walks (still with a bit of waddle) or sits or moves in just about any manner, his torso is taut and it re-enforces me to restructure my breathing body with similar stature.
His body, although changing rapidly, is expressing itself fully with every new moment and with every new breath. When we breathe with our entire organ(ism), we are maintaining this youthful vigor with subtle, full bodied strength.
For any Father out there that has a young one: Take the time to learn from this short lived experience and allow the unadulterated perfection of a growing child show you how your body was and how it can still be. Don’t be too old to imitate them and mimic their movements. Bulge out that abdomen, straighten the shoulders and spine and breathe and move like you can hardly contain yourself. That is the natural state of a human being and of being human (before bad habits begin and find their way into your everyday).
Always remember: Your child has wisdom and is here to teach you… about yourself.
Although the element of Metal is essentially rock solid, the nature of it is formed in a state of liquidity. Either as lava flowing from the dawn of time, as the iron ore is smelted down into the modern material of steel or when it is heated in the application (welding) or removal (burning) of it, Metal has flow. It expands and contracts with the changing temperature and it does in fact breathe.
As I’ve been practicing and perfecting my ‘full penetration’ welding these last few months, I’ve also been applying an equal level of focus to my own breathing and flow.
My mastery of motion begins with a slow and steady breath and the finesse of my flow follows that form. I used to rely on a guide bar that was attached to the column to aid my work but lately, I’ve been self sufficient in keeping a solid stance and supporting my body to support my arms and the making of these molten movements.
Today I had to burn a bunch of bolts and flush off some pretty thick welds and the lugs they were attached to. The air pressure coming out of the torch was quite high so it was a breeze, if you get my meaning. The flow of metal melting away is pure hot magic but the trick to taming the burning beast is holding that blue flame firmly in the neon orange glow. That’s done with a steady hand that comes from my breathing flow, my body flow and most importantly, the flow of time.
The total length of time it takes me to breathe deeply and burn or weld metal are equal parts of a successful cut or perfect pass. I inhale slow and steady and exhale similarly but keeping the pace is imperative. With every breath there is a rise and fall of the chest and my arms, being attached to my trunk, could be the baggage of my breathing body. If my breathing was erratic or jumpy then the cuts or welds would be too. However, this meditative practice of breathing through time, in the flow and movement of my stance, is what makes my work a pleasure and my job enjoyable.
Sure, I love to play with fire and surf the tides if primordial ooze with a shower of sparks in a reign of controlled chaos, but from where I stand, the true power of my profession lies within my abilities to connect to my core in this way. Not only does it make my job easier but it makes me stronger. It is a true blessing to be able to stand (or sit) around and exercise my breathing body with my physical and mental mettle.
Meditation is not just for monks on mountaintops. Anyone who hones in on their breathing body can quiet the mind and still the nerves yet revive their lives dancing to the drone of their respiratory rhythms. This age old practice has sharpened many a rusty tool in the shed and we can all accomplish (with a-calm-polished breath) a glimmer of greatness in every flowing moment.
Check this link for further information…
Tuesday 5/1/12 3:15 PM
Today is historically significant because it is Mayday and Occupy Wall Street has initiated a ‘No Work’ agenda to send a message to the 1%. The idea that the workers of this country are the real people in power might be valid if we actually had a majority of the manufacturing industry still here, but at this point, I don’t know who it’s going to help or hurt. If it hadn’t been raining, I’d likely be welding on the 8th floor of this Fordham University building. Protesting that impacts ones pocketbook may be a noble endeavor and as much as I would like to join forces to ‘save’ this country, I’m at a bit of a loss to see how these actions will truly affect the 1%. That being said, I came home to play with my 2 year and 1 month old boy before taking a nap and doing some much neglected housekeeping and personal work.
Yesterday was also a historic day. The World Trade Center has surpassed the Empire State Building as the tallest structure in Manhattan and there is cause for celebration among those that have invested in the iron and glass icon. As I happened to notice the story on NY1 (when I was exiting Roosevelt Hospital for the removal of 6 stitches I had received two weeks ago from slicing my calf open with a ‘cut wheel’ and grinder at the end of the day) the Port Authority Personnel were quite pleased with their project.
It was obviously not discussed, but the dark side of this glimmering beacon of hope is the lack of funding for several other buildings at the WTC site. As it stands, Buildings 2 and 3 are severely cut short from the tall tales of the early architectural touting. The dribbling economy and cost overruns in this grand and over-sighted vision of renewal for the downtown area will likely linger on for the next several years. Whether the master plan of production will be realized remains to be seen but at this point, in the eyes of those that want to look good, we have prevailed.
For myself, I look upon Tower 1 with mixed feelings. Of course I am proud to have had a small part in the process but I know from first hand experience that despite the level of perfection the Port Authority wants to portray, there was much left to be desired from the process. Although the speakers thanked the thousands of men and women in the construction trades for their commitment, they were certainly not forthcoming on the financial front. The reason DCM couldn’t pay the ‘stamps’ for my fellow workforce friends was due to the Port Authority’s purse string stinginess. The corporations and government agencies that seemingly have billions of dollars have them for a reason: Because they’re interests are founded upon and funded from what would be the wealth of the workers. Not paying 3 months of funds to thousands of people amount to millions of dollars in which to gamble and gain on the ‘green’.
I don’t want to rain on our parade, but in the spirit of Mayday and of the 99%, I want you to know that the back-story to this glory is somewhat gory.
1 Minute with Me! (51 seconds actually)
This is a trailer for my own TV show we shopped around but the ‘suits’ didn’t go for it. Let me know if you’d watch it… LIKE it, but you’re gonna Love it!
Here I am as a featured guest on Bizarre Foods w/ Andrew Zimmern when he and Anthony Bourdain came to Red Hook, Brooklyn to enjoy some local flavor!
Be sure to share this with all our friends and some of yours!
This video ‘reel’ is about my alter ego, ‘The Future Primitive’ and his only friend ‘The Agony of Man’ and some of their adventures. To find out more now go to http://www.steelneal.com. To see them in person in 2012, stay tuned to this website!
Please comment and share this video if it has sparked your interest!