Saturday, September 21, 2013

Staying the Course?

Admitting De-Feet
I've written a few times about running, surfing etc and I want to say publicly, today, right now, in front of G-D and everyone--I quit.

Yup, I quit. After making a big deal about epic journeys, about following a teacher, about remolding myself into a "long distance runner whatever" I just want to say I quit.

Shocking, I know. I'm a quitter.

I haven't wanted to write about this because I think a lot of people really cherish the idea of overcoming odds and becoming whatever it is they set out to be--I really wanted to model that.

However for me it's more important to be truthful.

In my coach training we've been doing a lot of work about being guided by our feelings--specifically the feelings in our bodies. Our bodies are very reliable guides to what actions bring us towards our best lives. Things start to get screwed up when we don't listen to the cues our bodies hand us over and over.

I had an idea about running. What that idea meant to me was finally proving I was tough enough to do something hard--something really impossible for the asthmatic little girl I was. Just like in the movies I was going to transcend my past by running a marathon.

I tried to do everything right. I met with my trainer twice a week to workout. I did as was prescribed to me and did my best to ignore the feelings of dread and depression I had before training. At the time I just saw those as negative feelings to overcome so I put on a happy face and went out to run when everything inside of me said "no"--it always hurt.

This wasn't how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to put in my dues, over come odds and emerge triumphant. Perhaps even feel joy. It wasn't happening.

One training Aracely was putting me through my paces and at a certain point I started to feel burning in my hip. I was making a horrible face but Aracely told me to keep going--and I did until I couldn't. I told her I was hurting. She asked me where and when I showed her she poked me there.

I screamed in pain as well as rage--I felt my face go pale. Aracely looked shocked. I immediately felt embarrassed for screaming out but the tiger was out of the cage. This was several months ago so I don't exactly remember what happened except it was very awkward and I went home.

Later that day I made an appointment to see my doctor (again!).

It didn't matter that I had been working on my strength, being careful and trying so hard to do it right. I had once again injured myself. I had to be honest with myself--this wasn't working.

Aracely and I sat down for a final meeting and decided to suspend training indefinitely. We both hurt over this. I don't blame my coach--she invested a lot of time in me and it still went nowhere.

So, where things get interesting with this isn't around my injury or running or even the relationship with a specific coach. It's all about a story--one I created.

For years I invested in a story around what being a runner, specifically a long distance runner, means. I made my relationship to running mean something about me--and not running as being a personal failure and a statement about who I am.

Pretty sad way to look at myself. And a great excuse to exclude myself from every trying running again because it would screw up my new story about being a "failed" runner.

The reality of the situation was I trained to run, I got an injury and chose to not pursue running. Not a character failing. Not a tragedy. Not a tale of redemption in the offing. Just now, when I work out, I tend to not run.

Dropping the running failure story (and every other failure story) is allowing me to pursue the real things that bring me joy and gives me permission to fail at them (and move on) or drop them if they don't suit me. Or revisit them if it feels right (no point in saying no if your internal compass is pointing to it).

What stories are you holding on to that are separating you from your best life?

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Visual Journal Page

I've had many beneficial things converge in my life over the last couple of months. One outcome is that I now paint daily before I go to work. This isn't painting to be "artistic" or produce things to show others--its purely to paint. I look forward to it. I don't procrastinate over it. It starts my day like nothing else can.

The output is starting to take the form of a journal because I now overlay my thoughts in with the images. This is something covered by Lisa Sonora Beam in her work (which I highly recommend you check out).

I woke up feeling a little anxious this morning and started working with images to see if I could parse out where my feelings were coming from. It was a combination of anticipating stress at work, worrying about my own position, a messy desk and having eaten a overly large, spicy dinner the night before. From that I was able to extract a few remedies:

Eat a light meal and drink some water
Get a little exercise in
Tidy up your desk
See how you can help at work to reduce the stress going on without getting sucked in yourself

(my remedies almost always include the above plus the situational thing--in this case work being stressful/chaotic right now)

I ended up my painting musings with this page. Thought I would share it with you here.

As I've gone over with Coach Max, as well as in my own coach training, work has far more room for choice than we often think it does.

However, its really easy to think otherwise, especially when others are affirming the opposite.

What Else Is Up?
I took the summer off from blogging to follow some other things. The visual journalling opened me up in a number of ways so projects that seemed far off or hard to complete all of a sudden became in reach.

Instead of beating my head over being a runner (injured) or surfer (nearly drowned) I decided to find other ways to get my nature/water fix in. Using a windfall from a work project, I treated myself to a stand up paddle board. All I knew is that every time I found myself passing a body of water be it the reservoir or the harbor, I found myself longing to be out there. Instead of waiting to have the flexibility to master surfing I'm going out RIGHT NOW to be on the water. I'm getting all the pleasure of being outside, the smell of open water and the sweet peace of just paddling and exploring.

Its amazing what opens up in the Now when you discard beliefs about how things should be. 

I have a few other items of note to share but I will save them for a separate post. Cheers.