The Last Swim of Summer

ought to be swum
without knowing it,
afternoon lost to
re-finding the rock
you can stand on
way out past the
raft, the flat one
that lines up four-
square with the door
of the boathouse.

Freestyle and back-
stroke and hours on
the dock nattering
on while the low sun
keeps setting fin-
gers and toes getting
number and number …
how could we know
we were swimming the
last swim of summer?

- Jonathan Galassi

CultFit Direction


Midnight :Sun:

Do not ruin today with mourning tomorrow-

Struggling to eliminate our flaws, tossing abrasive feelings to the side  Fighting ourselves into a place we deem more pleasant and less disruptive. Our instinctual fight or flight response operates in perpetual “autopilot” mode, navigating us toward safety. Although, what happens when we switch our autopilot system off?

I quite literally stumbled, and flicked my autopilot switch from “on” to “mindfulness” about five years ago. Mindfulness offered me a very specific and helpful way to accept, and value myself, by gently inviting me to pause To look within my thoughts, and notice what I am experiencing moment to moment – The polar opposite of killing the gym and running myself into the ground. Rather than conclude something was “wrong” with me for experiencing troubling thoughts and feelings, I simply acknowledged and attended to whatever I happened to notice at the time. Acceptance of who I am is enormously freeing, as long as I pause long enough to recognize that the path forward is awakening to myself, and not who I want or wish I could be.

Daily Meditation:

As the many experiences in life arise and float away, we dip our toes into a pool of stillness that has long sat stagnant.

CultFit Mindful

 


We Shall Be Released

Every afternoon that autumn
walking across campus
past the conservatory
I heard the soprano
practicing
her voice rising
making its way up the scale
straining to claim each note
weeks of work
of days
growing shorter
darker
storms slamming the campus
the semester staggering
to an end
everyone exhausted
drained
heading out and going home
the campus nearly deserted
but the soprano
still working the scales
when I passed under the trees
the liquidambars on fire
the clouds like great cities
sailing out to sea
and didn’t I ascend
with her
my own weariness
and sorrows
dropping away
didn’t we rise together
her voice straining
wavering
at the top of its range
almost reaching
almost claiming
that high
free-of-the-body
final note

- Joseph Stroud

CultFit Final

 


West of the : Moon :

With enough courage, you can do without a reputation-

Does it seem as though we are constantly defining who we are by our actions? Why is it difficult telling, or explaining who we really are?

Being distracted, busy and stressed is a choice I often make without a second thought.  No one is forcing me to take on all of these responsibilities and activities in my life. Sometimes it seems that being stressed out and busy is a symbol of status in our society. Raise your hand if you have uttered the following phrase(s): “I’m a _____” or “Look at all of these “things” I do.”

I’m a yoga instructor, pilates teacher, and coach. I’m an avid cyclist,  a quasi racer and competitive. I’m an engineer of some sort  I

Whatever happened to just being? I believe our identities have been so wrapped up in what we do that we have forgotten what it is like to just be.

Daily Meditation:

I need to pause now and – be, me.

CultFit Unplugged


Listen to the – Dawn -

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up-

What is the secret formula that can provide us with a long and fulfilling life? Most of the nauseating advice we are bombarded with is formulated around living a “healthy lifestyle” (<- whatever this is), leading to assumptions that center primarily on the physical aspects of this thing called life.

“Eat your cauliflower!” “Drink your coconut water!” “Run, walk, cycle, sex, yoga and drink red wine!” Say the experts, and you wonder why our culture is brimming with anxiety! Gotta do this, and we gotta do that if we want to live a long prosperous life! Gotta browse LivingSocial for the best yoga deals, shop organic and eat gluten-free – even if we don’t have Celiac disease. Most of our effort is done with variable success and the predictable stress is eagerly awaiting us around each corner.

How can we feel better about ourselves, boost our confidence naturally and build true inner peace? :Generosity: The quality of being kind, practicing selflessness and understanding, the willingness to give to those in our lives “things” that have value. Generosity is a spiritual principle that provides us with the key to leading a happy and healthy life.

Generosity is a natural (organic – ha!) confidence builder. Generosity acts as a shield against self-hatred and anxiety. By focusing on what we are giving, rather than what we are receiving, we cultivate and nurture a more outward orientation toward the world, shifting the focus away from our physical selves, onto something deeper, something that has a far greater impact on our daily lives.

Daily Meditation:

Each beautiful morning life presents us with a handful of opportunities to be generous; through embracing generosity (not cauliflower, not coconut water, not even gluten-free bread), we can do ourselves and those around us a world of good.

I am deeply grateful to each of you reading today – Take care and be well.

CultFit Grateful


The Problem of Describing Trees

For a Dear Friend

The aspen glitters in the wind
And that delights us.

The leaf flutters, turning,
Because that motion in the heat of August
Protects its cells from drying out. Likewise the leaf
Of the cottonwood.

The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.

It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.

Dance with me, dancer. Oh, I will.

Mountains, sky,
The aspen doing something in the wind.

- Robert Haas

CultFit Apsen Heart


Misplaced :June:

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath-

This morning, I’m anxious about any number of things and more specifically the Big Ring Ranch MTB Enduro this coming Saturday. I have not been able to find peace and tranquility very well, or as much as I would like the past few days. This race was supposed to happen in June, however Mother Nature won in the end. I feel tense and unsettled no fewer than a couple of times throughout the day: Worrying about pedantic things like gearing, my level of fitness and health, and I worry about “why” I was talked into this in the first place I worry a lot, because I find comfort in worrying.

The first thing I try to do when my worrying mind takes over, is to figure out what is not working right now in this beautiful moment. Sounds easy enough right? For me personally its harder than it sounds. Some mornings there’s a clear answer to be found during a sun salutation, but often it’s jumbled and convoluted – for my mind is not entirely present. I feel like I’m “hanging out” and going through the “motions.” I feel like I’m going to disappoint a bunch of family and friends – You – My Dear Readers. The once solid relationship I had with myself is spiraling out of control.

Other mornings, though, I really don’t know what the problem is. On the surface it appears that everything’s going fairly well, my breath is in tune with my flow and my mind is centered in the moment. Although, buried under the surface: I’m still struggling with worry.

The more I struggle with worry, the more anxious I become. I desperately need to find peace and tranquility, but how? Where do I start?!?

Daily Meditation:

Does what I shared above sound familiar? Some folks go for a walk, others head to the gym and surrender to a warm bath afterwards to find peace and tranquility. However, through being bold and trying, surrendering to the moment This is when we find peace and tranquility.

Time to head out for a morning walk.

CultFit Peace