The Broom of The System – Book Review

broom of the system

David Foster Wallace  – The Broom of The System – Book Review – Cole D. Lehman

You might know David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest or his commencement speech about the nature of reality, This is Water. You might know a lot more than that and it’s likely you know much more about him than I do. I haven’t read Infinite Jest yet, though remembering how much I loved The Broom of The System makes me want to…

GOVERNOR: We need a wasteland.


GOVERNOR: Gentleman, we need a desert.


GOVERNOR: Gentleman, a desert. A point of savage reference for the good people of Ohio. A place to fear and love. A blasted region. Something to remind us of what we hewed out of. A place without malls. An Other for Ohio’s Self. Cacti and scorpions and the sun beating down. Desolation. A place for people to wander alone. To reflect. Away from everything. Gentleman, a desert.

MR. OBSTAT: Just a super idea, Chief.

GOVERNOR: Thanks, Neil. Gentleman may I present Mr. Ed Roy Yancey, of Industrial Desert Design, Dallas. They did Kuwait.

This dialogue is what hooked me. Not because I love deserts, but because of the absurdity of the topic and the brilliance of the personalities in the conversation. The excerpt above is from a longer conversation about what eventually shows up as a well-loved, and uncharacteristically crowded Ohio landmark. Entertaining dialogue continued throughout the book and built an incredible world for the characters to live in. My favorite is probably the businessman who rants about his new goal to become infinitely large by consuming everything outside of him, while he’s decimating 9 steaks in a fine-dining restaurant. So good.

The core of the story revolves around a family who’s gotten wealthy off of the baby food industry. Their connections, acquaintances, loves, and neuroses drive the plot forward and inside-out. The Broom of The System pushes character development through dialogue and setting to a level I’ve never encountered before. Even when I didn’t know where the story was possibly going, I didn’t care. This seeming lack of direction was also one of the themes.

“But that stuff about context, though. Shouldn’t a story make  the context that makes people do certain things and have the things be appropriate or not appropriate? A story shouldn’t just mention the exact context it’s supposed to try really to create, right?”


 This book does exactly that. It creates a world out of itself and lets the characters develop as if they were living. It’s bizarre and gorgeous. Filled with people like Jay, a meddling psychologist who wears a gas mask when he smells “breakthroughs”.

JAY: Why is a story more up-front than life?

LENORE: It just seems more honest, somehow

JAY: Honest meaning closer to the truth?

LENORE: I smell trap.

JAY: I smell breakthrough. The truth is that there’s no difference between a life and a story? But a life pretends to be something more? But it really isn’t more?

LENORE: I would kill for a shower.

There’s no way to classify this as a light read, but it flowed nicely for me and was one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in recent history. If you enjoy brilliant dialogue, neurotic characters, and not having any idea what’s going to happen next, this is a great book for you.

Yoga for Guys – Weekly Park City Class Starts Sept. 30th at The Shop

yoga tinman


Can’t touch your toes? Don’t worry about it. It’s actually a secret advantage to learning yoga.

After a series and some workshops, I’m starting a weekly yoga class for guys in Park City from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Shop  on Tuesday, September 30th.

These classes will teach you about yoga philosophy and your anatomy, help you manage stress, get stronger, and increase flexibility.

The class will be for all levels, from total beginners to regular practitioners.

My goal is to share the physical and mental benefits of yoga with you and to take steps into the power of the underlying philosophy and history of the practice (not a dogmatic religion).

Yes, we will Om. But, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. One of the biggest parts of yoga is discerning what works for you and what doesn’t.

The practice of yoga has improved my running, snowboarding, biking and general well-being/health  and I’m excited  to share what I’ve learned.

It’s not magic. It’s self-awareness, patience, hard work, and dedication with a healthy dose of not taking it or yourself too seriously (it’s fun too).

Sound good? Come check it out.


Classes every Tuesday night from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Starting September 30th)

Located at The Shop : 1167 Woodside Ave, Park City, UT 84060

No Membership Contract Required

Yoga Mats Provided

Voluntary Donation Class

  • Recommended $10-$20
  • Encouraged min. $7
  • If you are worried about adding another expense to your life, come to class anyway and talk to me about it afterward. There are opportunities to trade work maintaining the studio for your class fees.

Questions, thoughts, concerns? Click Here to Email Me.

Anusara Elements-250x250-web

The Shop Logo





How to Cure Yogi’s Block

how to cure yogi's block

Teaching yoga is a lot like writing. You write drafts of classes, they have driving themes and a climax. You easily find yourself with yogi’s block just like writer’s block.  The cure is the same.

Stop thinking and start moving. It doesn’t matter if it’s your pen or your right leg.

You want to create a new sequence for your next class on Ishvara Pranidhana, surrender to the divine, or whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.

A page in your notebook is plastered with notes about what it means and how it could fit into a practice.

The element this theme associates with is water because surrender isn’t passive, it’s active and powerful. The second chakra and the hips are related to the movement and fluidity of water. Your third chakra relates to the powerful intention of the element in its flow. Ok, good.

Sitting on your mat, it all seems like it should be so simple, but nothing is happening.

You even know what poses and words could glue most of it together. Maybe you even have an apex pose picked out.

So what?

The thought of practicing all this just doesn’t have any glow. After 20 minutes of pranayama (fancy word for breathing), you abandon trying to create a class and focus on what would make you feel good.

Nothing seems remotely interesting.

Well, you’re still sitting there. You can’t think anything into perfection. You have to get started, even with gibberish. No, especially with gibberish.

Stop sitting there and start moving.

Get the mind unstuck by moving the body and the practice will start to unfold. It doesn’t matter what pose you start with and it doesn’t have to mean a damn thing, just move. That’s it. Now, do something else, anything else.

Keep moving.

All of a sudden, you catch yourself smiling. It feels good to move. Maybe, the beginning of your sequence comes to you. Maybe, the theme solidifies.

Maybe, you have to do this again tomorrow.

You won’t know what you’re teaching until you start moving; just like you won’t know what you’re writing until you start typing.

Breathe deeply. Start moving. Keep moving.

In severe cases, this isn’t enough.

When you feel like yoga is pointless and you don’t even know why you bother with it, you need to refresh your batteries.

Go outside and play. Hike up a mountain. Go see a concert. Dance. Read a book. Ride a bike. Watch a movie. Swim in the ocean. Learn something new. Catch up with an old friend. Make a new one.

Sometimes you need to find new inspiration.

No matter what, the cure is to get moving—on or off your mat.

Yoga For Guys in Park City – Flexibility Not Required

yoga tinman

Can’t touch your toes? Don’t worry about it. These yoga classes for guys in Park City will teach you about yoga, help you feel better, get stronger, and increase flexibility.

This 3-class intro series is on Saturdays in April from 3:00-4:00 p.m.  April 12th, 19th, 26th. Classes are at The Shop Yoga Studio, 1167 Woodside Ave, Park City, UT 84060. Each class is $15 (cash) and yoga mats will be provided. No registration required, just show up. Details are below.





Learn About Yoga 

    Feel Better                Get Stronger          Increase Flexibility 


Taught by Cole D. Lehman

Trail Runner                     Computer Jockey                 Snowboarder

Mountain Biker             XC Skier


@ The Shop in Park City

3 Saturdays in April

Sat. April 12 3:00-4:00 p.m.         Sat. April 19 3:00-4:00 p.m.

Sat. April 26 3:00-4:00 p.m.


Yoga Mats Provided

No Registration Required

Classes are $15 Each (Cash)

1167 Woodside Avenue, Park City 

Questions? Click Here to Email Me

The Shop Logo







Happy Facebook Birthday Everyone!


happy facebook birthday


I just passed my 29th birthday and I’ve met a lot of people along those orbits. Most of them in real life.

Even so, I use Facebook, and have since 2004. I grew up with AOL and AIM, the internet reaching its puberty right around when I did. That shit was awkward.

Back to the point. Facebook birthdays. Everyone who lists a birth date has one and hopefully gets a large number of HBD’s on their timeline.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Facebook birthdays. Other people’s make me anxious. Mine tend to make me happy. Conundrum.

Other people’s birthdays make me anxious because I feel like I have to write something witty or heartfelt, which takes time (that I don’t have at a glance). A quick “Happy Birthday!” is better than nothing, but I usually get frustrated, block it out,  and don’t post anything. I’m the type of person who tries to send handwritten cards to family or feels guilty.

For awhile, I even boycotted Facebook birthday-wall-wishing because it seemed to shallow to me. It’s too easy. No real effort required.

Then, I switched to text messages or personal messages, feeling like they’re  more personal and substantial.

Why do I think about this so much?

Whenever I see a bunch of messages from friends on my birthday, it almost always makes me happy, whether the messages are ace Hallmark material or not.

So I try to remember that just saying something, anything … is better than nothing.  The interaction may be too easy and shallow(to a degree), but it does add a small drop of happiness to someone’s day. So I should just wish them a happy birthday and stop brooding.

I almost never remember this. There is at least one or two instances over the past 2 days where I haven’t wished people happy birthday.

I’m sure I’ve missed your Facebook birthday or will at some point, so here’s my placeholder Happy Facebook Birthday! to everyone, forever and ever.






Flexible Daily Template for an Optimal Life in 2014

Optimal is a flexible and helpful lens to view your life through in 2014.  When you look for formulas that deliver happiness, perfection, enlightenment, etc.  you’re attaching yourself to unattainable things.  They’re unattainable, because every day is different and your optimal state is always changing.  Some days you’re just not going to be happy or you could be sick, and that’s OK, because that’s reality.   Attach yourself to optimal, not perfect.

I have an appreciation for the power of templates and lists.  Not the  rigid, do-it-this-way-every-single-time-in-this-order-no-matter-what-happens-or-the-world-will-explode templates, but templates that outline essential components for success and allow for natural fluctuations.

I created this one for my daily life because I sometimes get caught up in activities and habits that are distracting me from what’s important and ultimately, this makes my life less than optimal.  These are things I can always do to move towards a more favorable state.

  • Drink more water
  • Meditate
  • Practice physical Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Complete work that you’re proud of
  • Interact socially, IRL
  • Learn something new
  • Create something – Write, draw, paint, etc.
  • Play – Read, watch a movie, dance, etc.
  • Take a moment to be grateful for/in awe of life (the fact that we exist at all is really quite amazing)

They don’t ALL have to happen in a single day and they can be combined.  Yoga could be my play and exercise one day, and the work that I’m proud of on another (when I finish a class I’m going to teach).

My favorite thing about templates or lists like these are that you can always add to them, and that practicing just one of these things every day can change your entire world.

Make your own list, and see if it helps you find your daily template for an optimal life.  If you’re into that sort of thing.

What I Learned from My First Bikram Yoga Class

My first and only Bikram Yoga class was an experience that proved invaluable to my practice.

I’d been practicing Anusara Yoga steadily for over a year and I wanted to check out the practice my friend was into.  Since it was such a popular form of Yoga, I was sure to learn something and excited to experience the class. I got there early to deal with the paperwork and get a feel for the space.  The person at the desk was really helpful.  They answered the questions that I had about the class and offered advice for my first experience.  If I could just stay in the room for the whole time, it’d be a success.  No problem.

I walked in to set up and my apprehension about the heat was immediately snuffed out by the smell.  It made me think I had entered the circle of hell where dirty gym clothes go to spend eternity being tortured by lost tube socks.  Why would you want to smell this when you’re breathing deeply?   Ok, fine.  Mind over matter, right?

The sequence started off and I followed along. Playing with the edge of overheating was actually fun and challenging. It was amazing to be able to increase or decrease effort in the body and feel the results so quickly. The main stance was closed down (feet hugging together) and the poses emphasized compression, where I was used to expansion. That wasn’t pleasant.  The teacher kept talking, and talking, and talking… She kept telling us to lock our knees.  That was infuriating.  Hyper-extension of the knees is damaging and students do what they hear, not what you mean.

The first hour went pretty well. I even made myself rest and didn’t do all of the poses.  Right after that, the peak of the class, I overheated, lost my breath, and my nervous system was tired of being poked with a sharp stick(the teacher’s voice).  I tried to get it back under control, but laying there was misery.  So I got up and left the room after 10 minutes of effort.   The suffering seemed unnecessary.  I was done.

There were a few people in the lobby who worked at the studio.  They encouraged me to go back in, and against my better judgement, I did after a few minutes.  I left the room again almost immediately. I bet people were pissed.  I spent the rest of the class talking to a practitioner about Yoga.  He had been an Iyengar student before and he understood some of my concerns with the class.  He explained that ‘lock your knees’ meant lock your knees into proper alignment and sympathized with my inability to maintain my ujjayi breath in class.  I explained my view of Yoga to him and how I didn’t see spending my time in that room as life-affirming and he was with it.  The lady at the desk wasn’t having it though. She told me I needed to ‘fix’  my practice.  I felt like I just received a ‘Come to Jesus’ lashing.

I apologized to the teacher after class and explained myself.  She was stoic and seemed understanding but I also sensed some disdain in her facial expressions as she listened.

I loved the experience even though I disliked a lot of the practice itself. I’m really happy that Bikram Yoga is here for the people that it works for. It’s a very powerful practice and it connects people with the ancient art.  My practice was enhanced by the experience and I don’t feel bad that I chose to feel good instead of continuing to suffer needlessly. What did I learn? A lot.  Most importantly, there is a form of Yoga for everyone and that makes the world a better place.


Some Reasons Why I Love Living Out West

Recently I took  a back road from Midway to Park City, Utah and the drive reminded me of many reasons why I love living “out west”. It started when I passed the sign that warned me the road may be impassable due to weather or other conditions. You don’t find these signs on your way to civilization in many parts of the country and I smiled at the opportunity to step out of bounds on the way home. These roads are one of the biggest reasons I love living here, and they tend to lead me to the others.

Back Roads 

Fall Snow in Wasatch State Park Guardsman Pass

These narrow, poorly paved, or dirt roads traverse mountain passes,  take you along the edges of cliffs, and lead you to rarely visited locales are up there on my list of reasons. You can drive at your own pace,  stop along the way to breathe pristine air, and enjoy the feeling of standing in the middle of wild country without worrying about how you’re going to survive the coming snowstorm that just breached the ridge (if you’re not broken down and unprepared).   Sandy roads through the desert lit by an orange moon and crowded by junipers are one of my favorites kinds.  They take you to the most miraculous places.



The land is still alive here. You can feel the vitality the air and see the layers of time laid bare in the mountain and desert landscapes. Wildlife is plentiful and it’s not uncommon to spook herds of elk or deer from the road in front of you. Eagles, hawks, vultures, circle the skies above you and the carcasses you run across in desert canyons remind you of your own mortality.   It’s easy to find yourself miles from anywhere with only the occasional passing plane breaking the silence (they’re an interesting reminder). Of course, the concrete amoebas and resource extraction machines are slowly sinking their tentacles in, but there is still pristine solitude left to enjoy and plenty of adventures to be had.

Weird Stuff

Triops Living Fossil Utah Desert


The Colorado Plateau is home to all sorts of unique things, like this living fossil, the Shield Shrimp, which can be found in a muddy desert vernal pools.  These living fossils haven’t noticeably changed since the Triassic period.  Their eggs lay dormant until floods give them a place to hatch, and then they go on a feeding and mating frenzy until they run out of energy or the  puddle dries up. Old uranium mines,  ruins of ancient civilizations, tunnels to nowhere, petroglyphs of crocodiles, abandoned towns, strange roadside stops, and many more things wait around the corners of the shifting desert landscape.

The Sky 


Want to be entertained? Sunrise, sunset, stormy weather, and the night sky all provide free wonder.  Beams of light cutting through holes in the clouds, double rainbows, shooting stars, and satellites are constantly on display. Have you ever seen the Milky Way float like a cloud in the sky while coyotes howl in the distance? Get away from light pollution, set up camp for a few days, and look up.



people of Utah

Many of the people here reflect aspects of the things that I love. They’re wild, weird, vast, and filled with the same vital energy as the landscape. I’ve shared rum with strangers while they pan for gold in a workshop where drums and waterwheels are made(with a handgun sitting on the workbench for ambiance), danced the night away at an underground nightclub in a town of less than 300 people in southern Utah, and found a vein of everyday people that want to go further, higher, and do it all on their own terms.


These are just a few of my favorite things. Why do you love living where the wind grows tall?







Build Trust in Relationships Through Consistent Action or be Forgotten

Whether the relationship is professional or personal, you must build trust through consistent action or you’ll be forgotten. Now, more than ever, no one has time for people or brands they can’t rely on. Show up on time. Do your best. Listen first. Respond to people promptly. Be honest and helpful. Communicate a steady, clear message. Follow through on what you say you’ll do.

Do these things consistently as a brand or an individual and people will know that they can rely on you. In today’s world of short attention spans, information overload, and online personal interactions, nothing is more crucial.

Trust can evaporate at the post of a status, the opening of an email, the delay of a response, or at the sight of a misspelled word. If you’ve spent the time to build substantial relationships, you’ll be forgiven. If you haven’t, you’ll be forgotten.

How to Teach Your First Yoga Class


First, don’t panic. You know how to teach your first Yoga class. You’ve been through enough classes to know the format and your teacher training has given you the skills for this moment.  Step into it.

Here are some of the things that helped me sequence, theme, and teach Vasisthasana for the first time instead of just melting into a puddle.

Remember, It’s Not All About You
You’re  creating this class to serve others. Why do they step onto their mats? What has helped you in the past that you would like to share with others? Connect with those things and use them to make a beautiful offering.

Invite People You Trust
Being comfortable with the people at your first class is vital. Knowing their personalities, levels of practice, and self-awareness lets you focus on the sequence and your language. People who are total x-factors could distract you, but if they show up with friends, don’t let it throw you off. Be happy you have more people to teach, then, find out about the level of their practice and any injuries they may have.

Practice Your Sequence
This is the most important part. Writing down a series of poses and practicing a few isn’t enough. You need to know how the sequence makes you feel and how to explain the basic form of the poses in a few different ways. Go through the whole practice yourself at least once, if not more, and make adjustments. Are the transitions smooth?  Are you working any part of the body too hard?  Does your head feel like it’s going to blow off at any point? Notice these things and make changes and take notes on opportunities to connect with your students.

Get There Early
Taking time to ground before a class is essential for all Yoga teachers. It’s extra-important for your first class.  Get to the space, get comfortable with it, and get grounded. If there is a screaming circular saw 50 yards away, you’ll get the chance to settle into your theme about how attitude defines reality before everyone gets there.

Let It Flow
You have a solid plan burned into your subconscious and your notes beside you. You know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Take a deep breath before starting the class and trust in that knowledge. Then, just let go of our expectations and see how it evolves. It’s not going to go perfectly according to plan, but you’ll be surprised how much more powerful that can be.

Remember that this is your first time teaching a Yoga class. The real learning is about to begin. Be yourself and don’t beat yourself up over being perfect.