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.
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!
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present-
Note: Over the course of the next few posts, I am going to try to write about – equanimity – Key word being try. Personally, writing and discussing equanimity is tricky and this is where I need your help! I implore you to share your thoughts and insights on this very “tricky” topic. Thank you for your help in advance!
Equanimity is not about being a doormat to others, the world. Nor is equanimity suppressing your emotions, your true spirit. So, what the hell is it?!?
Personally, as defined by yours truly – Equanimity means maintaining mental calmness, composure, an evenness of temper, during stressful situations. There are, throughout my day, certain folks or situations that trigger within me a deep-rooted sense of anger. Which, makes it rather difficult for me to be the cool dude people often think I am? What stops me from choke slamming an ignorant driver? Lashing out verbally at a yoga instructor who leaves a tired class in high plank, only to lament how tired and sore he is? Saving the best example for last … Thinking you are having a pleasant conversation with someone, only to find out they were not listening, enamored with their gadget instead.
I have found equanimity to be my most calming state of mind, especially when interacting with people who rub me the wrong way and push my “buttons“.
If you want to make it through the day with an inner sense of grace and calm, equanimity is going to take you a lot farther than hostility. Let’s play around with the wording … If you want to make it through a challenging power yoga class? Allow equanimity to guide you, instead of being a chump, a whining chump who spews hate and hostility having to do a plank for two minutes.
Popular culture is a place where pity is called compassion, flattery is called love, propaganda is called knowledge, tension is called peace, gossip is called news, and auto-tune is called singing-
*Continued from Wednesday*
When I first started to become aware and conscious of what was (is) happening in the present moment, both inside and outside my body: I tapped into a powerful life changing skill. Even more powerful than running a marathon or some whimsical power yoga class and even more powerful than lifting a ton of weights and boasting about my efforts. Mindfulness allowed me to witness my own thoughts and feelings, to observe them as they pass by, like clouds effortlessly floating through the warm, blue sky above. Mindfulness has graciously offered me a front row seat, to a show, that is my own mind, and what a messed up show it can be at times!
When I first started writing years ago, I recklessly held onto judgment, ego and reaction. Little did I care to know about the true purpose of mindfulness … To be able to see what is happening inside, without ownership, judgment, ego or reaction. Instead of simply witnessing the thoughts of my mind, its endless cravings for attention, bitching, and bloated opinions? I reacted to everything, everything that my mind suggested (look up the old posts). I flat-out refused to take a seat, where to place my attention, and consequently, how to live my life.
Mindfulness allowed me to discover the awareness to which my mind’s play appeared before me, in a comfy, velvety seat.
Mindfulness is a tremendously powerful practice and well deserving of the attention it is receiving of late. We should be tread lightly though, mindfulness is more than a social media trend, more that just posting your workout results on Facebook, for the world to marvel at. True mindfulness, the mindfulness I have surrendered to, is a challenge that requires the up most dedication, awareness and humility – But damn, mindfulness is well worth the effort.
Who brought the popcorn? The show is about to begin …