perspective

Walls Up

What causes us to put our walls up?

Do we intentionally put our walls up?

If a wall is erected can it be taken down?

Can a wall go up and down similar to the unpredictability of the weather?

I do believe the answer is yes on all accounts. For me I make choices on my walls while others may inadvertently pull up a wall or walls without noticing. It may put them in a corner in a way. It could be a separation of friends. A separation of business collaboration. A divide in a family. So many examples around.

For the purposes of this writing I will reflect on bending and flexing. We all have the ability to bend and flex here and there to make compromises. Does this always work out well? No.

Why? People are messy and life isn’t fair. This toxic combination usually ends up in a recipe for disaster. Walls go up. Feeling get hurt. Reputations can be tarnished.

The complications of life. Of commingling people, personalities, emotions, and who can forget fear.

If you ever want to delve into this subject deeper you can take the enneagram test. Examine your results. Compare to a colleague, a close friend and maybe even a spouse. You may learn how to avoid walls/barriers and work more harmoniously in whatever environment you are in.

This is a food-for-thought post to ponder on a Friday before the weekend.

perspective

Speed Reading

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The book was “Go Dog, Go.” It’s the stuff of family lore.  I pulled it off the shelf at age 2, plopped down on our orange linoleum kitchen floor and read it out loud cover to cover.

My parents loved to tell this story of what a precocious reader I was. (My brothers would spitefully say I just memorized it because they read it to me every day.)   Still, I was in the Redbird group in Ms. Levell’s first grade class, which everyone knew was the highest group.  I’m not sure I always loved to read, but I had a knack for it from a young age.

As if that wasn’t enough, when I was in late elementary school, my Dad thought I should learn to speed read.  I’m not really sure how I learned it, but at some point I started using techniques that caused me to try to read as fast as I could.  It’s about inhaling chunks of text instead of individual words.  Larger and larger units. Zooming through page after page.

You may not be surprised that this change of speed made my understanding of what I was reading plummet.  I would fly through pages and have no idea what I had just read.  Through high school, college, and my PhD, I spent untold hours reading and rereading to slow myself down.

Even all these years later, I think I’ve still got the mentality of “faster is better” inside my reading mind.  Once I made reading a priority during quarantine, I’ve been off to the races consuming books.

As I’ve said before, the books I am reading are about mindset change.  I’ve plowed quite a few of them in a row now, more like they are mindless romance novels than anything worth ruminating over.  There’s been a nagging voice in the back of my head that says “slow down and think about it…”  Or in a couple of them, the author asks questions at the end of each chapter.  Still, I’ve breezed through them, thinking I would come back to them at some point.  That hasn’t happened.

Right now I’m reading Chasing Cupcakes, recommended by many in the Stronger U Community.  I actually didn’t love the book at first. The author came at me from the very beginning, warning that I couldn’t just traipse through the chapters without doing any work.

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Today in my reading she talked about four stages of problem solving.  The first step is sensing, where you’ve identified an issue and are looking for information to remedy it. I’ve been in this stage for months now.  Reading mindset book after mindset book is interesting…I learn something different from each one.  But I haven’t really done anything concrete with it. Yes, I’ve changed my internal soundtrack, but I need to push forward in new directions. All this endless seeking makes little difference if it doesn’t change into doing.  At some point I have to move into solving, then I can circle back if things aren’t working out.

Time to stop piling on the information and pretending that is progress.  On to doing something.  I’m daring myself to get clear on what I’m chasing and move forward.

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fitness and nutrition

Sore vs. Soar

Oh how I love a twist on words or one word vs. another. A simple competition for me to challenge myself to think. Is it word wizardry?

Who knows! For me I used this word wizardry to unmask my current challenge relating to fitness.

In order to soar in my personal fitness goals I must first be willing to be sore. That’s easier said than done on most days.

I went back to the gym after a long 69 days away from the box. Yes I counted to be sure. It’s been about 5 years since I missed even 5 days in a year. That makes this a big break. I worked out during isolation however I never pushed myself to new limits. I never held myself to the same standard I would in a competition or even a metcon.

No real reason other than I just didn’t do it. I had other priorities at the time. I had background noise pulling at me and a bit of stubbornness. Not really excuses just choices. So here I am in the now. What’s happening now.

I’m recommitting to my fitness at a high achiever level. A competition level. I have more time. The pandemic regulations are diminishing in my area. It’s a good time to shift priorities and mindset.

First obstacle to overcome or being generally accepting about is soreness. The kind of soreness that makes it hard to walk/sit on some days while it’s hard to just giggle on others due to ab tightness. No matter what the pain, it’s progress.

After the soreness becomes tolerable then the frequency adjusts. The number of days I can endure the constantly varied workouts.

Once both of these areas are buttoned up, a routine is established. A healthy manageable routine of fitness. That’s where the beauty lies. The beautification process to some or the achievement gratification to others. Either way transformation is visible.

As I wrote this fitness update I was outside or more like near a window. As I wrote in flew a butterfly. Not the most attractive butterfly but one that sat patiently with me as I wrote. Flapping the wing span like it winking at me. Just hanging around like my faithful dog Teddie does.

A sign for me to soar. To spread my wings and soar to new heights. Let go of the achy sore in search of the ability to soar as an individual. A healthy fit individual.

Recently I’ve used photos to aid in my story telling. This may appeal to some while annoy others. Whichever category you fall into let it be known that I am ever so in tune with my surroundings and environment. I choose to listen, feel, smell and touch the world with my uniqueness.

May the coincidence of this butterfly cause you to take in your surrounding a bit more and see if any signs give you clarity for obstacles you are facing in your life.

Perspective is a valuable tool to use in life. Words are also equally valuable. Words can hurt or words can make you smile.  That is just the case with the two words I selected today.

Enjoy today.

fitness and nutrition

The Extra Mile

I’ve been kinda foundering with my home workouts at times.  I get bored, restless.  I don’t do warmups well.  I can easily get distracted. I stall when it’s time to get going. I’ve been doing hero WODs but that’s only on Mondays. So when a friend suggested I run a mile every day for a month, I grabbed on.  It was a goal to fuel me for the next little while.  Plus, running many miles is part of my goal for this year. Why not?

Then, as part of a fundraiser at my school, I told everyone who registered for a literacy charity race that I would run an extra mile for them.  That in itself was about 20 miles.  Suddenly I had multiple purposes to run each day.

Well, I’m reporting in on Day 26 and I am over it.  The miles get longer and longer.  Ok, so a mile can’t really get longer.  But, I can run it slower.  It can certainly seem longer. I don’t look forward to it. I actually actively dread it.  But, because I am stubborn and hard-headed I am going to get to 30 days.

Why has this become harder?

First, my mornings have gotten more hectic since I am going back into my physical workplace each day.  So, it is a bit of a scramble to add that 15 minutes in after a workout.

Second, I’m annoyed by my speed. A couple of weeks ago friend mentioned that after practicing each day, I should probably be running faster overall.  Honestly, I am not.  My attitude is bad about it.  But when I took on this task it was more about doing it just to have something to do.  My running pace has gotten quicker through my years of fitness, but I’ve never actually concentrated on my pace. It’s just been a side benefit of better overall fitness. So really, in this case, I didn’t have much of a goal beyond completing it.  Not really a very good goal to be honest. I have learned that my goal needs to have a bit more purpose than this one. And a purpose I really desire or believe in.

I guess I didn’t fail but I don’t feel like I succeeded.  And so there’s a lesson about goals in here that I am learning. My fear is failure, but I am still figuring out what failure means and how to embrace it when I need to.  I will finish and know for sure that I am not a daily runner. So I’ve learned that at least.  I like to run twice, perhaps three times a week if I am training for a specific race.  But doing it every day is not something I really enjoy. And if I don’t enjoy it or at the very least feel successful and satisfied when it is done, what’s the point?

Sometimes going the extra mile isn’t all that fun.  But, we do it because we need to, we said we would, because it is the right thing to do, or sometimes because we are just too hard-headed and stubborn to quit.

A few more days and this will be a memory, happily.

 

adventure

Spring’s Simple Pleasures

Is it just me, or is this the longest spring season in recorded history?

And no, this isn’t really a post about how difficult it has been to be cooped up indoors a lot, separated from friends, missing out on events, and so on.  (If you’re looking for that, try these posts.)

I don’t remember spring ever lasting this long because it is usually lacrosse season, celebration season, end of work season, and so on.  We are often driving and juggling and cheering and volunteering and working nonstop.  And I love and miss a lot of that.  But this season has allowed me to notice and enjoy spring in new ways. I have always loved fall above all else, but I’m now seeing that spring has its charms.

Couple that with my commitment to be more intentional about spending money and I am finding myself relishing small, simple pleasures.

I’ve mentioned the morning reading that has replaced my sometimes frantic commute.  Quiet, candle, coffee and a book starts my day most of the time.  You’d think a librarian would read a lot, but I honestly don’t make the time for it that I should.  Right now I am going into my physical building to work for a few weeks, so reading time is short but I try not to miss it.

Bike rides.  What would I do without my bike?  I’m sort of obsessed with it.  I keep it on my car pretty much all the time and biking on the back seat inside just in case the opportunity to ride presents itself.  Cruising new paths in the sunshine with my riding partner is happiness and adventure when going very far from home isn’t happening.  It feels like a mini-vacation and is one of the few times I feel truly care-free.

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I am a farmer’s market fanatic.  The pandemic has caused many local farmers to revamp their business models.  I’ve been able to order flowers and farm boxes and pick them up safely.  I actually love that I can order what I like and have it held for me.  It’s frustrating to drive all the way to the market only to find they already sold out of my favorite sungold tomatoes or, later, September Wonder apples.

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Which reminds me, it is almost tomato season here where we live.  I look forward to these summer veggies all year.  Right now we are in the heart of strawberry season. I found an hour the other day to drive out to a strawberry farm and pick a couple of buckets.  If you have never had strawberries straight from the vine (or tomatoes for that matter) you are missing out.  It’s a totally different taste than supermarket berries.  And the experience of picking them myself in the hot sun was sweet and reflective. Fresh strawberries are one of the sweeter things in life. It’s been great to share them with people who appreciate them.

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What simple pleasures have you rediscovered in these hard times? Walks?  Game nights? Family dinners?  Tell us in the comments.