Tribute edited and arranged by CTP
Originally written 6.20.16.
It’s been two weeks since I heard the news. The news that still doesn’t seem real. I was in between flights at a layover in Atlanta when I saw a few texts that something had happened which none of us preferred. I didn’t even have to talk to anyone or hear a story or even hear that someone had passed or who it was. I already knew. Chris Moore had passed. A quick call to my good friend and business partner, Rob Conner, confirmed the news. Not something we ever look forward to having to do, breaking bad news to good friends. I am now back on a flight back home from Memphis. Yesterday was the memorial service.
The last couple weeks have been a bit foggy. I’ve taken time to contemplate. I’ve worked. I’ve been distant, I’ve been close. It hasn’t been easy and in some ways it’s been easier than I would anticipate. Death is something I’ve grown much more comfortable with than my previous self. I can tell you more about that at a later time. In short, I recognize at my core that without death we have no life. I accept the cycle and am gracious to it.
I started writing this several times. A few paragraphs in and nothing felt right. I scrubbed it knowing I would start all over again tomorrow. I wanted to write something that would honor Chris. I wanted it to be perfect. I’ve gone back and listened to his Barbell Buddha shows. I listened to the last time he was interviewed on the Girls Gone Wod podcast.
For me, listening to Chris on a podcast is unusual. It’s not that I don’t like listening to it. It’s just that for the last 10 years he and I have spent an enormous amount of time together sharing our hearts. I never felt the need to go listen to show that I received one on one of the regular. I had it good. Most people would love to sit down and just chat with Chris.
When we weren’t on the road I always made it a point to get over to his house at least once a week to share a J and talk music, philosophy and spirituality. He was one of the few people who I could connect with on these subjects. A Brother. I spent a lot of time during these sessions asking few questions and doing a lot of listening. He read a lot more than I have. I loved getting the summary to the latest text he was reading. It was as if I got all the benefit without the same work he put in. He had a way of breaking it down for my current situation. His perspective is something I’ve always valued and will miss.
“Fill up your board” – Chris Moore
I really thought about trying to share his journey the best I can, and that would be cool, it’s just that I can’t. You see, his perspective has been shared through his books, articles, and podcasts. If you want his perspective on his life and life in general go give him a listen. What I will share is the journey I had with him.
Listen to all 100 of Chris’s episodes of podcast, Barbell Buddha here
I met Chris 10 years ago, almost exactly. It was June of 2006. I had just left the Navy and I had fallen in love with weightlifting. I trained in the basement of the University of Memphis field house with Dr. Brian Schilling. Halfway through the summer I started training in the afternoons when Chris would come in. In the beginning I thought he was just this big strong guy who was also very stubborn. That’s probably what made him such a great lifter. He had his sights on something and he was doing it no matter what anyone was suggesting.
We didn’t talk much through the summer. Fall came and a crew of new faces came into the training room. School was starting and the students were back or were showing up for the first time. This is when Doug Larson, Andy Galpin, Corey Lohnes, Jake Fitts and some others came into the picture. These guys were all in graduate school and that’s when things got social. Chris wasn’t too social back then and I was running with a different crowd. Parties happened that fall and we all started to get to know each other a little more.
Conversations in the training room blossomed. Mostly around training, science, and women. None of us knew much about any of these things even though we all thought we were experts at the time. It was good to have Brian Schilling around to coral us enough so we didn’t get too off track.
Between 2006 and 2007 we all became friends and hung out every chance we ever got. I decided to open CrossFit Memphis with Rob Conner and most of the crew from the U of M field house joined us at an old auto garage in a shitty part of Memphis. We had a little equipment and a lot of room. Everyone pitched in. We had CrossFit, Weightlifting and Powerlifting. Chris headed up everything powerlifting and heavy metal. He was one of the things that made us different. Maybe not popular, but different.
Time went on, the gym carried on. Doug joined Rob and me as a business partner. Chris worked his corporate gig as a writer and marketing/scientist/doctor liaison and spent the rest of his time training and hanging with us. It was in the gym that he met his amazing wife, Jani. I’m so blessed to have been a part and a witness to incredible love. The gym was our life back then.
This whole time, from 2006 to 2011 we trained, shared success, failure, frustrations and competition. We traveled for each other. We went to each other’s meets to coach and cheer on. We were all broke and cramming too many people in hotel rooms. We were a funny crew. We were all weightlifting and powerlifting before those two worlds really talked to each other. We were able to bridge the gap before we knew what CrossFit® was.
In 2011 CTP encouraged us to start podcasting. My memory of the details are a bit fuzzy and I’m sure we all remember it a bit different. What I do remember is that Chris was all in on the idea. He and I would post up once a week at a coffee shop where we would bullshit about training with a $99 microphone sitting between us on the table. For the record, it’s probably time to release those episodes.
We had no idea what we were doing and we were having fun. We’d hand CTP a thumb drive with the mp3 on it. CTP would listen to our recordings while delivering pizzas. He confirmed that it was good (blowing smoke up our asses).
Through a lot of trial and error we formed a solid team, Doug, CTP, Chris and me. We posted shows. We talked about what we though people wanted and needed to hear. We took it seriously. We wanted to be good, the best. We strived for quality. We did it in person. We got to know our guests and audience.
The show and everyone taught us so much. The biggest lesson was service. Every time we did a show in the service of our guests and audience amazing things would happen. Things we couldn’t imagine. That’s the real secret. If you’re thinking of how to help people the return will be 10 fold. We started the show as a selfish endeavor. We wanted to be heard. We had something to say. And as time passed we learned from the best communicators in the world about how to send a message. We used many tactics, many methods.
Little did we know that each one of those methods was built on the premise that we are to serve our audience and over time we came into full recognition of that principle. Tactics and methods began to fade with the principle taking the center of our attention. The evolution of the show was a spiritual experience. We became men. We became servants.
We had been doing the show for a couple years when Chris made the leap to leave his corporate gig to join us full time. This was a huge move for him since he had a wife and two kids. In fact, one of those children, Mae, was born the same month he left his job. He encountered an immense amount of pressure from his boss, coworkers and family about leaving his “safe” job for a podcast.
Chris’s last day at his corporate gig
photo credit: Doug Larson
From my perspective this was the biggest shift that Chris took in his life. This was his waking up. This is when he took full responsibility for his own life, looked fear in the face and told it to fuck off. Over the next couple months he endured a lot of emotional stress. A baby girl being born and stepping out into the world all at once. Every bit of his body was telling him to go back to comfort, but he knew he was on his path. He stuck to it and that is when the big transformation began.
Of course he was growing and transforming up to that point but this was huge. He laid it all on the line. It was this moment that he pulled on the end of the thread of that string that was wound around his heart so tight. Over the next two years he kept pulling, unraveling fear and facing it. It was then he went from a guy, a child, to be being a man. He knew his purpose and nothing was going to stop him from here on out. He committed himself fully.
He moved from a place he’d lived his whole life for the first time in his 30s with his family. It was terrifying. He learned to trust his intuition and his team. He leaned on us even through the transition, through the moves. He didn’t need us but we were there.
The last year he was alive was amazing. He was refining his message. He had become a leader. He was living fully in his passion.
Chris leading a discussion with some Shrugged fans in London
photo credit: Charlotte Miles
I’m blessed to have known him. To have had time with him. To have talked with him. To have explored life together. To know his family. My time with him will always be cherished.
I’m comforted knowing that Chris died doing what he loved. He did not regret a day. He gave himself fully to life and that is why I know that he died in peace. He had heaven on earth, not because it was easy, but because he had found peace in himself and was fulfilled in his mission.
At the end everything Chris did was out of service to humanity. His purpose was to wake you up. To inspire you to take action. To put aside your fears and dive deep into your own purpose. To follow your bliss.
He taught many tactics and methods while always pointing to the principle. He was in recognition of your process, your path. He is knocking at your door. Go and listen to his shows, read his books. Each word is a knock. Do yourself a favor, honor Chris by opening the door. Face your fears. Take charge and responsibility for your own life. Give yourself grace and love. Choose gratitude in each moment. Have mentors and be yourself. Practice breath and meditation.
He is not gone. His body is ash and his words will live on forever. You can still answer the door, he’s still knocking. On the other side of that door is your path to your power, your purpose, and the cycles of learning called birth and death.
Read the work of Chris Moore. Then read The Bhagavad Gita, one of his greatest teachers.
When you understand Atman, Brahman, dharma, and samsara you will begin to understand Chris Moore. And if you understand these things, come talk to me. It’ll be a good conversation.
If you’d like to help make Chris’s dreams for his art and his family a reality, you can offer your support here.