Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity-
*I wrote this post during a brief stop, riding a century one scoring hot weekend last summer in Nebraska. I’m not sure why I didn’t publish it at the time, maybe I was on to something, or maybe not. It’s safe to say that I walk a path in this beautiful world differently than most, and this philosophy carries over into how I help folks to compete, not on the road – but rather in this thing called life*
I am fortunate and humbled by the amazing people I get to talk with each day. The most captivating, and certainly the most personal moments occur when we struggle to “spit it out“, to put into words the thoughts that lie at the very edge of our ability to put them forth as meaningful words, a dense conversation full of wonder and meaning. Each of us has experienced the feeling of straining, against the very limit(s) of putting our thoughts into words, or even these well intended thoughts into actions.
Opening people’s eyes to the real benefits of yoga and training athletes is more than just enhancing their ability in a tangible way (inflated numbers – fleeting results), but rather – developing deeper thinking, a curious mind and wondering too. This really bothers me, deeply. You know what? It flat-out pisses me off … If you can’t think what you can’t say? Don’t put your thoughts into action – with only half your heart. I’m comfortable saying for the first time on this platform, that I am gently leading you on a journey for more words, deeper thought and wondering, exploring different ways to say, see and doing “things“.
Many of us are comfortably corralled within the limits of our power of thought, speech and outward actions. We don’t think anything we can’t say and we can’t say much. The truth of the matter, we don’t even come close to doing the things we can do, and we certainly don’t do much. More often than naught, a closed mind isn’t stubborn, just stunted in its ability to grow, in hibernation so to speak. I feel the same way in-regards to how we live in this byzantine world we called home now-a-days.
To get by in the ultra competitive world we live in, all we need is a few things to think and say, a few things to do, and a few ways to stop our thoughts from running beyond what we’ve already thought.
I feel my work here is done, be well and do take care.
I picked up a new language a few months ago. It was just laying on the ground, dirty, so I scooped it up and popped it in my mouth-
On Wednesday I wrote a post discussing self-talk. A post in which I trimmed a major theme out, primarily because it was aimed at self coaching for athletes and dare I say – ultra competitive folks. One of the issues I struggle with, daily – having once been über-competitive, is introducing mindfulness, awareness, compassion and self-love as important tool(s) to reaching your full potential, in whatever you choose to do.
I would like to thank A Somewhat Likable Girl and Fit Recovery for twisting my arm a little bit! I’m not one to back down from an opinion, although when it comes to doling out advice? I like to tread lightly, for each of us are truly unique and special, and I mean “special“. Warning: A healthy dose of self-serving advice and bloated opinions lie ahead ….
The portion I edited out …
It amazes me how much time, effort, and money we pour into training for “whatever“. Thinking that better equipment and shoes will help us break through the ultra marathon wall, typically at mile 43.5. Cyclist, obsess over saving a few grams, for what? Four meager grams will not help your torrid pace near the finish. Yoga folks … Fabulous new pants and a see through crop top will not help you hold a pose longer – That’s the truth!
How does this tie into finding equanimity, self-talk, mindfulness etc.? We are keenly aware that competing and training, aerobic exercise, yoga and lifting weights are effective ways to relinquish the anger and frustration that can fester when we “Zip it Up” rather than fully expressing ourselves in the moment. Physical activity and competing can be a pathway to equanimity, like any type of meditation. Although, I feel we are missing out on the best part.
During competition, yoga – brutally honest moment: I have seen more people comparing and competing in yoga class than at the start of CAT 1 Crit. A topic for another day … More so than letting out aggression and relieving stress. Positive self-talk and personal coaching allows us to deconstruct the elements of what happened, let’s our aggression escape the moment, allowing us to resolve conflicts in a magnanimous way.
For those of you reading who may not know – I fully have surrendered to myself and embrace ahiṃsā. <- This is where I stopped, before a long-winded rant ensued.
What in the world am I talking about? Remember who you are, that’s it. Remember that you a special person doing something you love to do, but please keep in mind that YOU are not the ACTIVITY. Positive self-talk and coaching affords us the time to reconnect with our humanness. WE are not our GOAL(s), no matter how important they are to you. I’m pleading with you not to lose this perspective. Instead, cultivate it within your self coaching, self-talk and whatever. Having goals and competing can make us pretty damn cool, but not as cool as the all-encompassing, creative and mysterious universe to which we already belong. Knowing your true self in this crazy world assures you of finding serenity, even at four in the morning, rain pouring down, butterflies in your quivering stomach … Mile maker 43 cannot come soon enough!
Be well this weekend and please take care.
Seeing the snowman standing all alone
In dusk and cold is more than he can bear.
The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare
A night of gnashings and enormous moan.
His tearful sight can hardly reach to where
The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes
Returns him such a god-forsaken stare
As outcast Adam gave to Paradise.
The man of snow is, nonetheless, content,
Having no wish to go inside and die.
Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry.
Though frozen water is his element,
He melts enough to drop from one soft eye
A trickle of the purest rain, a tear
For the child at the bright pane surrounded by
Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear.
A modern definition of equanimity: cool. This refers to one whose mind remains stable & calm in all situations-
Raise your hand if you have ever talked to yourself, or better yet, talked to yourself in the third person during a difficult or trying time in your life. Don’t be shy now – I have two hands waving in the air if that matters?!?
Breathing, positive self talk, calmness, evenness of mind – Chill. The gentle sway of a budding birch tree, daffodils and crocuses awaking underfoot, sharing a smile with a complete stranger as you spin or run on by … All the while talking to yourself, coaching yourself, through a difficult set of experiences.
When talking to myself in the third person I normally recite something like this: “Dude, keep cool, this equanimity stuff? Is pretty damn important! Chill … Breathe … Relax the back of your throat … Eyes forward, Heart Open! Take another deep breath … Breathe … Equanimity is key … Zip it up – You got this!.”
Here I am, some random dude on the inter-webz, openly telling you that I talk to myself – all of the damn time! And who cares if you do the very same! When we are unable to walk – spin – run calmly away from a “situation“? Remember: This equanimity stuff? Is pretty damn important!