Monday, April 29, 2013

For Me

Today I went for a bike ride. Something I've been thinking about and pondering came to my mind a few times throughout this ride. First, I was dizzy yesterday to the point I had to put Mimo back in his stall b/c I couldn't stand out there while he grazed. Bleh. Then last night I had this horrible pain in my left shoulder that woke me and left my arm down to my thumb sore. Weird stuff. I also felt a bit out of sorts today as well. But still I decided to ride.

Rookie Tri is this Sunday. What I do now isn't really going to make a difference in how that goes. Therefore, my prevailing thought has been to use it as a baseline for where I'm at given the miniscule amount of training I've put in. On the surface, this is all well and good. Look a bit deeper and I know this is what I *should* do. It's what I *want* to do. Yet I struggle; I know myself very well. As I've looked at this upcoming first tri of 2013 I've felt disappoint already. I haven't even done the damn thing and already I'm disappointed with my performance. How's that for whacked? ;-)

So my mind brought up this idea of doing the tri for myself a few times on this ride. I thought about why I decided to go for a bike ride this evening. Even though I don't think my fitness will improve all that much from now 'til Sunday, I still want to try. I still want to feel healthy and do what I can to give myself the best shot. And so I rode. A short ride, but I felt better than expected considering.

As I came in on Spiedel this thought of Rookie Tri entered my mind again. And truer than I've felt it before, I told myself to do this one for myself. This time. Do it for myself. Swim 300 meters and chill out in the water. Take it easy and enjoy, knowing I can now finally swim after all these years. Ride my bike to the best of my current ability. I can push this a little. No, I don't expect it to be my fastest, I haven't trained for that. But I can still try to rock it out for where I'm at now. Then run 2 miles. It won't be fast. But I can do it and see where I'm at.

So in I came on Spiedel with these thoughts coming to my mind. I thought of Katja and her can-do personality, how she approached things, how she went toward newness instead of backing away. I looked up and there was one of those beautiful clouds with the sun pouring through and gorgeous sunlight streaming from the heavens to the ground. I felt... something. A peace. An acceptance. And maybe some sort of chance I *will* be able to do this one for myself. It seemed to cement my thoughts into place and everything just felt right.

My goals for Rookie Tri - somewhat above in regards to the event itself. But also, to end it feeling proud of myself. Proud for doing this sport I never dreamed I'd do just a short while back. Proud that even though I may not have done much training, my body is still strong enough to be able to do this. I may not win my age group by a long shot, but so what? There will always be those better and worse than me. So in the end, what does it matter except that I am proud of my own accomplishments and the fact that I tried? IF I want to be faster in my next one, I can take the steps to get there. For this one, let's just make it enough that I'm able to complete it and cross that finish line with a biga$$ smile.

For me.

Because I can. And because it IS good enough to simply enjoy the ride (and swim. and run) sometimes. ;-)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Who sets your bar?

Who sets your bar?
Is it you? your parents? friends? boss? some imaginary bar-setter? who???

And where?
Always too high so it's never attainable, making you feel insecure, inadequate, and like a loser? Or does always too high keep you motivated and provide that extra push to keep striving?
Always too low so you trick yourself into feeling like a winner, like you're a rockstar in your own world? Or does setting it low give you that extra pat on the back to keep striving?

It's fascinating to me how different people approach goals. There are those whose default is I CAN. I WILL. They may have no real reason for believing they can attain it, but no matter... they exude confidence and will try and try, sometimes get there sometimes not, but they keep on going. And then there are those who approach things from the view of thinking they're not worthy, strong enough, inadequate. Almost shooting yourself in the foot before you even try.

There must be a happy medium here. Too much confidence and you could injure yourself or be too reckless. Too insecure and you could talk yourself out of something before you've even given it a shot.

This is one of my goals to work on: Setting my own bar and at an appropriate level for me.

I'm the latter up there. I rarely feel adequately prepared for anything. This ties into most every part of my life. It's like I need to have all the answers, need to have researched everything, before I will say I feel confident and competent. I'm reading a book called Mindset that has been very interesting and deals with some of this. To paraphrase one section that hit home: think of taking a class to learn a foreign language. A few weeks into the course the teacher calls you in front of the class and barrages you with questions. The *fixed* mindset gets stressed, feels like a failure, that they're being judged by their peers. Counter that with the *growth* mindset, however. The teacher is there to guide you and why would you be expected to know all the answers if you're new to this? This is a learning experience and to be approached with interest in the hopes of getting better. I like this as I know I'm fixed in many regards. Always feeling judged and like I'm expected to be perfect. Not always. There are things I'm ok sucking at. :-) But I hate feeling stupid.

Tonight I made my first batch of kitchari using Sanieh's recipe. It's good! I've gotten away from a lot of the healthy stuff I used to eat, yoga, writing, doing things that make me feel strong and grounded. It's time to add those things back into my life and part of setting my bar means honoring my body, mind, and spirit. I can set lofty athletic goals, but if I run myself into the ground trying to attain them, then what is the point? Yes, I want to freestyle the swim portion of a tri this spring, and yes I'm in a masters class right now and focusing on my form, but that doesn't mean I need to put all my energy into that and swim a super fast tri. My goal for that is simple: freestyle the swim portion of my first tri this spring. Period. End of story. That is MY bar. So whose bar is it that comes in and says that's not good enough? That if I freestyle it, but am the last out of the water, then I still suck. Where does that come from? I mean really, I'm not going to become a professional triathlete. So whether I swim fast or slow, in the scheme of my life, who cares? Apparently some part of me. Or some part that's hanging about in my body from others that I feel I need to impress. Why? Maybe there's a part of me that wishes I was more athletic than I am. I'm sure there's a big component from the constant horse show question of years past, "Why didn't you get first place? What happened that you didn't win?"

So this year and on down the road, I will try to set my own bar and hold myself accountable to that. In addition, I will be aware of this other part that constantly makes me feel like a failure by putting asterisks on that bar: must swim x pace, must not be last, would be nice to place, must pedal up that hill quickly, must be better than others, etc etc. Chill the f out. Seriously. My bar is my own. Not to be compared to anyone else's. I will try.

And so begins my foray back into mental stimulation. It's time. He||, it's been time for quite some time. :-) Welcome back, me.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Exactly. This.

It's so easy to settle into a pattern of doing what we know we're good at, pushing ourselves to what  at first seems like a limit, but really... is it? Not often. Training to bike 100 miles is not pushing through a boundary for me. That's not meant to sound smug, but I've done it before. Yes, I'm older now, but I still know I can ride that distance with a bit of training & have confidence in that. It's trending toward the outer reaches of my comfort zone from the aspect that it's not *easy*. But I'd still consider it entirely within the zone.

So what's out?

Those things that cause me a rush of anxiety. That I think, "No, not me. I'm not capable of that because --insert laundry list of excuses here." But how do you grow, expand, find what you're made of, if you never try things that seem beyond your capabilities? Furthermore, who cares? Why not just stay in a comfy place and know that you've set goals you're likely to achieve? That's positive reinforcement, right? It feels good to go for something and get it. So why try for something you aren't certain you can attain?

It's all about the journey. And what you learn along the way. About yourself and how you tackle challenges. About what makes you nervous, anxious, want to run and hide. About facing.your.fears.


So I'm learning to swim, finally, after 42 years of not knowing how to do the freestyle in preparation for the Danksin. (that I'm not a runner either is a bit of a problem, but I'm confident I can walk it if I'm *that* tired) So one could say I'm anxious about learning to swim the freestyle. And I think there is absolutely truth in that statement. But the bigger fear is that of failure. And I think that's what often holds people back from attempting feats such as this. There's the time component - I have only a few weeks to learn to swim before I have to do a darn 1/2 mile, so yeah... there's that. But by and large it's a fear of failure, of not being coordinated enough to learn, or not being fit enough to complete it, of others realizing I'm not as strong, fit, athletic as they think, to be seen as a fraud. Those are the real fears. It's amazing how sometimes we hold ourselves accountable to some high level of competence that no one else does. If I sidestroke the entire swim portion, no one else is really going to care. Except me. But in the end, THAT makes all the difference. If I can even freestyle a small portion of the swim, that'll be a gigantic accomplishment and I'll be proud of myself. If I freestyle none of it, yet still finish doing some other stroke... well.. that's a failure in my book. I think I'm better than that. And challenging myself to prove it is sure as $hit making me feel vulnerable and raw. Am I capable? Dunno... but I'm making the effort to find out. The fear of not being able to do a portion using the freestyle stroke is not something I want to hold me back in learning to try it, and so I try to get my booty in the water and splash around, taking in gallons of water every single time, yet still going back for more. Am I out of my comfort zone? Hells yeah. And it's amazing how even the smallest improvements of form and smallest increased ease in my drills makes me feel proud. Time will tell if this work will support me when I'm stressed in the open water, surrounded by tons of other women attempting to find their way through the first tri phase.

But I'm out of my comfort zone. I'm learning about myself. And those around me, too. I have some fabulous friends in my life and one helluva boyfriend cheering me on. They're carrying my confidence right now, and I'll let them. But on race day, I'll gather it into a little package and take it with me into the uncharted territory that is triathlon. My goal will be to smile at the end, knowing at the very least, I entered an event I've thought of doing for years, but scoffed at thinking I wasn't capable of participating in. There's magic going on in the process of learning. That I do know. I hope to walk away June 3rd feeling the true magic of having set a goal that was so far out of my comfort zone I'd never seriously considered it. And use it, whether it's hard or not, fun or not, as a catalyst to continue to strive to face whatever fears might present themselves. Making oneself vulnerable in any way is hard, but the beauty that can be found in doing so....completely worth it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Agni Revisited

"Start a fire in your heart and surround yourself with those who fan the flame."

I don't know from where this quote originates, but I loved it immediately. I've written previously about the idea of that internal flame. protecting it. keeping it lit. But to surround oneself with those who fuel it? Oh mmm hmmm. yes.

My internal flame has continued to burn. At times dim. So dim I wasn't sure it was still alive. But just as a fire dies down, the remaining embers contain incredible energy that are just waiting for a little breathing space to glow again brightly. I'm sure we've all had people in our lives who have threatened to diminish who we are, our hopes, our dreams, and those things that make us unique. I used to think love would be found by meeting someone who could accept who I was and choose to *deal with* certain pieces of me. That might be ok. That can keep the flame burning reasonably well. But would it fan it? Not really. Finding a partner and friends who truly embrace and cherish who I am turns out to be not only possible, but really what's deserved. For me, for you, for all of us. So I'm a bit emotional at times. Don't tell me be tough & not let my feelings show. There are times for that, but in moreso than not... F that. I'm strong because I feel. Emotions are part of me and I'm proud to finally let feelings in, even when they emit a strong response. I've been told I think about many things more in-depth than *most people*, and at times that I'm over-analyzing or not letting something go. Again, too bad. It means I haven't come to terms, haven't been able to fully make sense, or there's something in there that I haven't discovered yet. Curiosity comes out in all kinds of ways, including this, and I'll be damned if I'll curtail that.

So who are these people who fan our flame? They're the ones who love us because of who we are, not in spite of. They know the little quirks that make us unique. They find us beautiful so very far beyond the physical realm and know what we're made of inside. And they find us imperfectly perfect. They're our cheerleaders, our shoulders to cry on, the bearers of our strength when we think we can't go on. They look into us, not at us. There's a special connection that exists whether you speak every day, every year, or never again. You know when they've entered your space. That warm place in my heart? It's there because of who I am, but also because of those I love and cherish and hold close. My flame has been fanned & continues to be fanned. I'm honored, grateful, humbled, and burning strongly.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lotus Rising, full circle

I've been fascinated by the idea of something said to me recently & can't quite wrap my brain around it nor formulate my thoughts well, but it feels completely and wholly true. I'm aware I wear my heart on my sleeve. Knowing if I'm happy, sad, moved to tears, angry, elated, etc takes no more than looking at my face. It's right there. But that stuff is easy. The $hit hits the fan when it comes to taking things deeper, to getting closer to the *why* & what's happening on the inside & up comes the wall. Stop. Thou shall not enter. Turn around and come back from whence you came b/c you're not making it through. It's intriguing b/c to look back even just a few years ago, I'd without a doubt say that wall came down. Little did I realize that there was another one a bit further behind it.

What are we afraid of? How well do you ever truly get to know yourself or another person? Well, only as well as they let you I suppose, and also only as well as you let yourself. I suspect it has to do w/vulnerability. Opening to emotions on the more inner levels means believing we're capable of dealing w/whatever is in there. Our inner workings can be a pretty damn murky, mucky place. But there's beauty in that. Back to the idea of the lotus flower. Just because you find a place that's hard to see through, that stops you in your tracks and binds you and is full of mud doesn't mean that you can't find absolute loveliness out of it and use it's nutrients to pull you up and come out so much more stunning and full than when you came in. Facing the scary, insecure, terrifying thoughts and emotions we all have inside helps us grow SO much more than ignoring them. Scratching the surface can result in something pretty, no doubt. But you get into those dark places & may go through periods that feel like holy hell, but I promise if you stick with it and keep going and trust in yourself you'll come out with riches you'd have never found otherwise.

We are so, so much stronger than we know. We are capable of amazing things if we believe in ourselves. And there is so much more inside each and every one of us than we realize, but it may take fighting through a helluva lot of muck to get there. I've met people whose negativity or complete lack of zest for life just saps the energy from those around him/her. Life is much too short for that. Reminds me of the human version of the Harry Potter Dementors. Is it worth it to deal w/our internal muck? Absolutely and without a doubt. Do we risk alienating ourselves from others? Mmmm, well, honestly, yes. I think so. But in the end, would you rather surround yourself with those who don't support the true you, or those who have seen you vulnerable and taken your hand and walked with you through those times? What are we waiting for? Knocking down a wall doesn't mean we're fixed, perfect or that there are no more further down the path. Life is one big learning experience and seems we don't ever really *arrive* or *get there*. It's how it should be. To get to the end of the our life path, where there's nowhere left to go, is one of the saddest things I can imagine. Exploring, finding new things to do and see, viewing things as if through the eyes of a curious child, and sometimes diving into our internal muck are what life is all about. Carry on.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Silence. And then... not.

I love this:

A musician sits in a silence that holds only the intent to play before she brings the music up out of that silence with her muscles and breath. The sounds of the music unfold through time until at some point the musician lets the silence return. Only now the silence is different, deeper. It holds more. 

It's so completely true. There are many moments of deepening silence like this in life. Think about the fantastic nervous energy before a first kiss. There's that moment right before of complete emptiness. Time seems to stop as you lean in together. Then the kiss. And then BOOM... that silence is filled with a helluva lot of (often conflicting, though exciting) emotions, feelings, and thoughts all colliding at once. There's SO MUCH there now.

Love love love this. I can think of a ton of times I've felt this, but they're my memories and so incredibly special they get to stay inside me & I don't feel a bit selfish about withholding. :-))) But feel that passage... pretty f'n cool.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Peace and Touching

I'm not sure what's changed, if anything, but I'm feeling damn good these days. A sense of peace has settled in and I'm extremely content with how things are going. Now, of course, there are things in the works. Feeling at peace doesn't = complacency, remaining stagnant, etc. But I'm just feeling overall happy about how things are going, where I'm at, and where I'm headed. Did the Tres Burritos ride today and fully expected it to suck. It didn't. Not at all. I rode out with a group faster than I'd ride on my own, but not craziness. That seemed to spur either 1) my competitive side (don't think so, not w/cycling), or 2) kicked me into gear (yes, yes) and while I kicked back a bit after riding w/them the first 20, a couple of the guys waited up and we continued to ride at a pace a bit above what I'd prefer given the overall distance. I kept thinking I was going to pay for it once we did the huge jaunt back south into the wind. Instead, I ended up dropping the guy w/the South Australia jersey (oops.. seriously unintentional... he apparently fell off on one of the hills) and then the last 10 I was the one leading a slew of guys into the wind. Me. ME!!! I felt strong and don't know what to chalk this up to. 67 miles is farther than I *should* have been biking today, though apparently my body & mind disagree with whatever was saying it's too much. I did some 60+ rides prior to Mexico, but just short rides here and then since I've been back. Something culminated and THANK YOU! I'm tickled. I also am aware to not put too much stock in this... sometimes it's just all right at the same time. I still have a lot of training to do to have a strong 100 for the Mamma Jamma.

Touch. Oh, touch. I treated myself to a massage tonight. I've yet to figure out what is most pleasing to me about this. Yes, I DO love a massage. But I also love love love being touched. Sexually is great, but some of us are w/o partner so clearly I don't mean in that way about this. It just feel so frickin' good to have someone's hands on my body. Amazing. Similar to a hug. Huge fan of the hug and dammit, why do so many people suck at hugging? Is it that hard? Apparently. I feel like I"m hugging a robot 1/2 the time. I get not everyone is in touch with their emotions, not comfortable opening themselves up, but it's just a hug. Then again, ahem... we know *just a hug* is what sparked a very torrid relationship not too long ago so perhaps I'm not giving it enough credit. Either way, I'm happy.

I'm happy.

I'm happy.

I'd love to meet someone. I do want a partner in my life. But timing is so very critical and eventually I feel confident the right person will be there at the right time. It's all good. Right now. I'm feeling antsy. Not so much about this partner thang... just a bit antsy in general. There are thoughts brewing in my mind. Where I want to be. Goodness. Total goodness. It's about time. ;-))))))))))))