Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 18 2018

Sunday With Sisson 11.18.18

By Mark Sisson
13 Comments

Hi, everyone. Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday morning. For those of you accustomed to receiving Sunday With Sisson in your inbox, I wanted to give you a heads up that the team and I are making some changes (just technical) with the newsletter and “Sunday With Sisson” for just a few weeks. Some of you may notice some temporary interruption in your email delivery from MDA. It’s all part of upgrading our systems. Unfortunately, there’s never a good time for these things.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting “Sunday With Sisson” letters each Sunday on the blog until we’re back to our full mailing capacity. Enjoy, and—as always—thanks for joining me here. 

Good morning, everybody.

So, California is on fire. You’ve probably heard the stories and seen the videos of people racing along burning highways to escape. It’s unlike anything the state has ever seen.

I no longer live in Malibu, but I did for 25 years, and my daughter Devyn has been living in our old Malibu house with her boyfriend and three dogs.

She was in the house last week as fire raced down the valley toward our home. They watched as it got closer and only left when the flames finally reached our backyard, assuming they had more time before it was upon them. They didn’t.

I was following along on live stream news from my place in Miami. When I saw local L.A. reporters standing on the street below our house with 30 foot flames roaring directly behind them, I called and told her to get the hell out. Devyn had no idea because the power and Internet were all cut. She and the dogs went to Santa Monica; her boyfriend stayed in Malibu to protect our house (successfully) and a few other friends’ homes in the area.

When I got confirmation that she was all right, I went to sleep. I’m a worrier—as longtime readers will know—but I went to bed with a clear mind, knowing that everyone was safe. Sure, I worried about the house, which has been on the market for a few months and contains 15 years of dearly held memories along with some lingering belongings, but I was also totally at peace with whatever happened. We’ve got insurance and houses are just stuff. The people who live in the house and the memories we form there are what matters. That sense of home doesn’t just disappear. It stays with you.

The house survived anyway, albeit with a fair amount of fire and water damage to two sides of it. Two of our neighbors weren’t so lucky and lost their homes entirely.

It’s interesting to me that just two weeks ago I was writing about the importance of practicing gratitude. These events asserted a real life reason why gratitude is so essential: life is fragile—and it can be taken away at any moment. Even if you think you have nothing, you have life, and the promise and opportunity that represents.

Gratitude asks us to resist the temptation to judge the height of our own fortune (or the depth of our misfortune) by comparison with others. It’s self-referencing, which is the seat of its power. So many things become possible when we operate from that place.

I’ve said before on the blog that Thanksgiving happens to be my favorite holiday. This year I’ll be celebrating its message more than ever.

Enjoy your Sunday, everybody, and a good holiday to you and yours.

Best,

Mark

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13 thoughts on “Sunday With Sisson 11.18.18”

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  1. The modern-day trappings of success give us things to protect and support that we don’t need (and may not even want). When these things are destroyed, or disappear, a primal connection to one’s mind, body, soul, and tribe (to one another) comes racing back and reconnects us with that which matters most. We have so much to be grateful for… gratitude is indeed a powerful force.

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us all… I’m happy to hear that your family is safe and sound.

  2. So relieved your family got out of there safely. You sure are right about material things just being STUFF. Boy do most people love stuff. Just look at one storage unit after another, in everytown USA. Native american tribes could break down a camp of 200 lodgings and disappear with nary a trace in less than an hour..with all of their belongings in the world.
    We are alive and that is a miracle in itself and something to be grateful for.

  3. It’s a relief to hear about your family’s safety, Mark. A real portrayal and reflection of gratitude when life hits us hard. Grateful for all you’ve done and continue to do.

  4. I’m so glad your daughter and her boyfriend got out of there okay–and the dogs, of course. They were taking a chance staying as long as they did. Fire can travel incredibly fast.

    My heart goes out to the people who have lost everything–and especially to the families of those who have lost their lives. Beautiful though it is, I sometimes wonder if California was ever meant to be lived in, either by man or beast.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking about you, your family and friends in Malibu. Devastating.

  6. I know you’ve moved to Miami but I’ve still wondered about your house, friends and family in Malibu and are glad to know everyone’s okay, and your house survived with minimal damage. Thank you for the reminder of the importance of gratitude.

    P.S. Devyn’s boyfriend sounds like a keeper! 🙂

  7. Wow, thanks for sharing Mark. I am a SoCal native and current Bay Area resident and unfortunately have seen the damage wildfires can inflict all too often. Glad to hear that your daughter and her boyfriend is safe.

  8. When you’re a gardener, a home is much more than just a place to keep your stuff.
    My husband and I are finally enjoying fruit from trees that we planted 5 years ago and have cared for since.
    In just the past few months alone, we have put in hundreds of hours of work wheelbarrowing woodchips to the backyard in preparation for a permaculture food-forest. I’m in Santa Rosa, CA, where we had the Tubb’s fire raging within a quarter-mile in October 2017. I feel very thankful to still have my home and garden.

  9. I got a little teary reading your post Mark. So glad to hear that your family got out safe and sound. What are the odds you would be watching a live feed at the time and warned them to get out. Someone was watching over your family for sure.

  10. Family is everything. I too grew up in California and left in 1972 to go to the United States Air Force Academy and a 20 year military career. Career was everything until being away from family at war. I retired as a LtCol and moved to
    Georgia to finish raising my family. I wish I could get back those early years but I can’t. Today I live a life of peace and love following the Primal Path. I’m thankful for my wife, my children who are now grown, my granddaughter and my athletes who train each morning at CrossFit SweetWater. Family is everything including my athletes!

  11. Oh my word. I’m so glad they’re ok. You’re absolutely right, of course. It’s all just stuff. The important part is that the PEOPLE are safe.