running

Imagination

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."  ~Albert Einstein I loved Barbie Dolls when I was growing up.  I especially loved my sister's Barbie dolls because they were always in better condition than mine.  She always took better care of her toys than I did, and when she wasn't around, I would play with them!  :)  I was really diligent about being careful so she wouldn't find out, she is older than me, and at the time I was smaller than her!

I always wished that my dolls were actually real.  I would imagine that they had these intricate lives.  I would try to catch them coming alive when I wasn't looking.  I never caught them directly which doesn't mean that they didn't come alive, it just means that I never caught them.  I would tie a rope around my Barbie's and throw them out the window to pretend like they were mountain climbers or trying to escape.  There were a lot of various scenarios, all of them very realistic.  I spent a lot of time having them do things that were decidedly athletic.  Basically a prelude to my present life.

One day I was ironing.  I am sure it was something cotton which meant that I had the setting on high and with steam.  I, of course, had one of my dolls helping me out.  She was near enough to the iron that the steam hit her face.  I didn't realize how close she was until I checked in with her (believe me, they were alive) and saw that the steam created beads of water on her face that made it look like she was sweating!  Yes!!!  Sweat… how much more human can you get?  So I stopped ironing and commenced to create a scene where she was running and very out of breath, then (after putting her close to the steam from the iron) she would have to wipe her face off.  It was a blast.  I don't remember how long she ran, but I do know that she was rather sweaty.

After enough time (in my mind) I shut the scene down, finished my ironing and took my doll to her next adventure, which was, if I recall correctly, to do her hair.  Well, if you never played with dolls I will explain what the hair is made of.  Plastic.  If you don't know what plastic does near heat, I will tell you.  It melts.  And melt it did.  Her hair was stuck together like bad Phad Thai noodles.  It sucked.  I remember feeling frustrated after the surprise wore off.  That went away pretty quick as a solution rose up in me.  CUT. IT. OFF.  So I did.  She became my bald-ish doll who liked to work out.  I kept her an played with her and invariably came up with all of these scenarios where she had lost her hair or just liked it short.  She wasn't neglected that is for sure.  I rolled with it.  Being open was/is the key.

Imaginations are precious and they are what makes your reality real.  Have you had an opportunity to foster your imagination and decided that it wasn't a worth pursuit?  Maybe you could use time alone, no phone, no computer, no TV where you just play.  You create ideas, you imagine situations, you play.  You have all you need to enjoy your life right where you are.  It is all in your head, literally.  The next time you have the chance to create something magical or fantastical, DO IT.  Enjoy how that opens you up to so many other things you didn't realize you were closed to.  Just be careful of plastic and heat… they don't mix.

"Imagination is the eye of the soul."  ~Joseph Joubert

xo

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What's Good???

Good morning! It is Tuesday!!  :) This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Cell Phones.

Looking Pretty While Running.

Checking Your pH.

Readings.

Honesty.  

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

Food for thought:

If you are going to wait to make sure everyone is happy before you move forward with your dreams, you will make yourself miserable.  Live the life you dream of now, trust that the universe is there for you and it will be.   

"To believe in something, and not live it is dishonest" ~Mahatma Gandhi

"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion.  Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."  ~Franz Kafka

Live your life as you see fit.  You are the only one you need to impress.

xo

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A Challenge

Howdy! Two years ago I rode my bike in the Solstice Parade here in Seattle.  It is a super groovy time where tons of folks get naked and paint themselves awesome costumes and bike, skate, walk, march, and dance.  I had never thought of myself as someone who would bike naked, ever.  Yet I did it.  It was freeing and now I am someone who bikes naked!!!  Kind of cool I think.  This year I will be missing it, sadly.  However, I will be racing in the Spartan Sprint Race.  It is around 4 miles with 15 obstacles that include barbed wire, fire, and people holding huge ass Q-Tip type monstrosities attempting to knock participants down.  Yep, I chose to do this… with one of my clients.  Basically I will be battered and bruised tomorrow afternoon.  Though the course is only 4 miles it is expected to take 1-2 hours to finish.  Woohoo!

Personally, I really enjoy doing something that is hard, that pushes me to a place I don't get to visit often.  I like not knowing what to expect and I completely enjoy the fact that I will have to take it as it comes.  We can learn a lot from entering random races like this, from having to go with the flow.  So often we, as adults, refuse to try things that we aren't good at.  We tell ourselves and others a story about how we "just aren't good at this"  or we "aren't like that."  The truth is we can do what we want to.  There are no limits, yet limits are all we see.

What can you do to challenge your sense of "self" in the next two days?  How can you find a challenge that will get you out of telling the story that you have "never been good at (insert something here) to telling a new story of, I am learning how to do (insert previously denied skill)?  How can you change the story you have been telling yourself and those around you about your abilities, talents, and skills so that your story actually matches where you want to be?  Mine will be running the Spartan Race and then finding time to organize my office and making fantastic mixes for teaching on Sunday!

Have fun writing a new story around the one that has held you back.

xo

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Coaching

"I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou We all have people who motivate us, encourage us, inspire us to change for the better. One of those people for me was/is Heather Smith.

I was a rower in college. I LOVED my time as a collegiate athlete and have to credit Heather, my novice rowing coach, with instilling in me a love of rowing, coaching, and athletics in general. I remember when I joined the rowing team and was told that we would be running 3 miles on one of the first actual training days. I immediately became nervous because I hadn't run 3 miles before. I didn't do a sport in high school due to the fact that I had gone to 3 different high schools in 3 different states. There wasn't much consistency and, though I did very well in school, I didn't enjoy it. I was excited to go to college for several reasons, one of which was athletics. I began training for my sport (I didn't know what sport it would be, but I knew that I would find it) the year before I went to college… actually it was more like the summer before. That summer prior to college I joined the local YMCA and began running 2 miles a day. I thought I was doing great at around 12 minute miles… and I was, for the beginning. So when I heard, during that first rowing practice, that I had 3 miles to run I thought, "Dammit! one more stinking mile than I had ever done!" I finished the 3 miles by bringing up the rear and by walking here and there… but I finished. My coach was encouraging the whole way. She would run ahead to talk to the lead pack and then slow down to talk to the ones having a hard time, like myself. I remember being amazed at how she never seemed out of breath.

I remember when we did hills a month or so later and Heather ran past me saying, "your butt is looking good!" It made me feel GREAT! My body was changing and I hadn't even thought about it really. I was rowing because I was enjoying every detail, every moment, everything. My body getting toned was just a by-product. Heather was always there, cheering us on, keeping us focused, and pushing our limits. We did what she told us because we knew she had a clear vision and, well, we won… everything. Besides, how can you complain about working hard when your coach barks orders at you while she is doing pull ups using only her fingers? At that point you will do whatever she says because she is badass! Seriously. I mean, what an example! She was (and still is) a Goddess!

A couple more months passed. We did stairs and I was in the lead. She looked at me. She congratulated me and I felt great. I was feeling good about being a competitor and getting better. I didn't know what it all meant but I loved it and kept going.

In February of my freshman year the rowing team had an indoor rowing event. We raced on the rowing machines (we call them 'ergs' for 2000 meters. Basically for a rower 2000 meters is death. It sucks. You lose sleep over having to do a 2000 meter piece, an erg test, as they are commonly called. Well, during this event we had to do TWO erg tests!!! One for the "heats" and then you get placed into the "finals." All the women, varsity and novice compete as a group and the same with the men. Somehow I ended up in the Grand Final… the only novice that did. Being a novice and new to sports in general I took a nap after my heat and basically didn't think about it. I was relaxed because I didn't know I was supposed to be nervous. Heather knew that I would probably need a little encouragement because I didn't really grasp how awesome it was that I was in the grand final. She came over to me after I woke and said, "All of the varsity girls are saying that you won't do well… that experience always wins." Well, I have never had a shortage of ego and was shocked at their complete disregard of me as a true competitor. I got on the erg, in the middle of 7 other varsity women and sat ready. Just as the coxswain said, "ready all, row!" LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out' played through my head, "Don't call it a comeback, unh, I been here for years, rocking my peers, puttin' suckers in fear…" I pushed all the way to the lead, all of the women not in the grand final and all of the guys were standing around us, screaming my name! It was awesome and I won! I won.

Heather pushed me to be more than I knew I could be in rowing. She also showed me how to be a completely present and solid coach. She saw something great and made it better. After that year I knew that rowing, sports, and coaching would be in my future somehow. Each day I get clearer and clearer on my future in sport, athletics, and motivation. It is a beautiful journey.

Who has motivated you? Pushed you? Seen more in you at some point than you have? How have you risen to their fantastic expectations? Who are you encouraging and shining light on?

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself." ~Galileo Galilei

xo

a

Curiosity & Wonder vs Certainty

Howdy! Just a reminder: Take your vitamins! Seriously. Get rest (talking to myself and you) and think happy thoughts! I am writing this at the same time I am nodding off a bit… super sleepy I am so I will make it brief, I think. One never knows these things for sure. Which brings me to what is on my mind: certainty… similar to security… it is rather impossible to grasp anything for certain. Even this moment is fleeting. See, it is gone already, replaced by another and another and another. So what can we know for certain and is it important to know anything for certain? As JFK once said, "The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain."

When we grasp the idea of certainty being a false idea we find ourselves either absolutely terrified (because we have believed certainty actually makes us secure so the paradigm shift is rather dramatic) or we find great comfort in letting go. Certainty gives us a sense of security. We feel like we can "know" something for sure then we won't get hurt or be wrong. We spend a lot of time trying to do the "right" thing and often find out that we have tried seemingly in vain. When we let go of the idea that things are static and one can know what things are for sure we begin to accept them as they are, in the moment. Ultimately we begin to realize that we actually see things as we are and they change when we do.

I am sure you have changed your mind about something you were certain about. Think of one thing that you were sure about that now you are not closed off to or you see differently. I would say that when I was in my late teens I was certain I wouldn't run a marathon. I remember thinking people were nuts just running around for the heck of it. What were they running from? I ran, but it was for Crew and I became good at it and would even sometimes do it for "fun" but a marathon??? Right. Flash forward 5 years after graduating from College and there I was a marathoner. I was a serious runner. Logging 7 miles each day 6x/week for years. See. One can just never know and it is almost never the point anyway. So instead of being certain why not try curiosity or wonder? Changing your language around something changes your mind and has the power to open your world to the wonders that live all around and inside of you.

I've never run an ultra marathon and I wonder if I ever will. :)

xo a