Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What are you practicing right now?

I've been thinking a lot about habits.

Without getting into all the boring details I recently I've changed my diet back (not exactly but close) to how I used to eat.  And it struck me how easy it was for me to fall back into the groove.  

I think most people know this but usually apply the idea exclusively to negative habits.  But the truth is a habit is a habit. A well worn path, whether it's to heaven or hell is pretty easy to find.

I guess we can look at this a couple of ways.  We can get frustrated that our bad habits are always there waiting for us or we can feel a sense of relief that even if we have fallen off the proverbial wagon, we can get back on.

Unfortunately we cannot erase the things we have done repeatedly in our pasts.  And we may not want to reach for some of the  so called good habits, as they may no longer serve us as they did before.

But there is something we can do.  We can choose what new habits we form.  Whether we are conscious or not ,what we do now is becoming the habit of tomorrow.  What if we really paid attention to what we are practicing in each moment, instead of finding out on the back end what we have established.

We can do this by being present.  We can do this by asking a simple question…"What am I practicing right now?"

Imagine what we can do when we decide where we invest our action , our time and our effort.  We can align what we practice with what we  love  and value in every single area of our lives.  We get to choose.

"What are you practicing right now?" 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chicken Salad, Stories & Moving Forward

Its time to make lunch.

God, that chicken salad Nancy and Jen had looked AHHMAZING!  That’s what I want to make!

I head to the fridge and DAMMIT,  no chicken!  Fuck.

In the past I tried to make chicken salad without chicken, and that didn’t turn out so great. So today I'll make something different.  

I start making some egg salad, only half paying attention to what I am doing.  All I can think about is that I don't have chicken and THAT'S not fair. 

The next day at lunch I eat my egg salad, I can hardly pay attention to how it tastes because I am watching Nancy and Jen eat their lunch. 

I start talking to Nancy and tell her how awesome her chicken salad is, but secretly I hate her for having chicken salad when I don't.

I turn to Jen and start telling her, in great detail about how I couldn’t find any chicken. I think to myself "She's lucky to have such a fully stocked kitchen, If I had  her kitchen  I could have chicken salad too. I am so unlucky, this sucks!" I turn to Fred and tell him about my no chicken saga too.

This little metaphor, is really about what  has played out in many areas of my life where I felt lacking, but most recently its showed up around weightlifting

I am staunchly aware of the deficits in my fitness that impact my weightlifting.  I  know I can work now till I die and there are any things that are not possible for me to accomplish.  I have accepted these things and I attempt to make the best out of what I have.

However, I realize  I still get caught up in comparing myself to others. And I am constantly talking about and focusing on "my story."

What I tell myself (and others) is that Its harder for me to get results than it is for everyone else. I say "I am limited…"  and "I started in the basement so everything takes me longer."  I talk about how  no one ever told me that I could play sports even though I as big and how I only started working on fitness when I was 29.  

Yes I know, there is truth to my story.  However I think I have become stuck in it. 

Back to the chicken salad…

I don't really like egg salad that much.

MAYBE if I had stopped lamenting about the lack of chicken I would have noticed that I have sirloin to put on a kick ass tossed salad..  

Or maybe I made the BEST EGG SALAD EVER but I couldn't taste it, because I was looking at everyone's FUCKING CHICKEN and telling them about how I don't have any.

Or maybe If I had fully focused on what I had in my pantry I could have come up with this amazing recipe, that would inspire "the chickless" to try something new in their lunch box tomorrow.

So yeah, I have a past and there are effects of it. In many ways It's a good story and it even inspires others.  But I think maybe its coming to the point where the story about my limitations, Is what is actually what's limiting me. Sweet paradox or maybe irony, likely both.

If I am to find my actual limits, I have to stop talking about my limits so often. I have to stop focusing on the story and perpetuating it. But where do I focus instead?

I may  not have chicken, but I do have food.  And I fucking love making and eating lunch.  

And I love weightlifting.  I love how it feels when the middle of a snatch disappears and its magically above  my head.  I love the process of learning, adapting, understanding and actually getting better at different parts of the lifts.  I love that weightlifting is makes  me  a better athlete, a better trainer and a better human being.

So instead of talking about  my so called limits…

I will use  what I have available in my kitchen each and every day.  I may have to spend some extra time looking or prepping or maybe even being creative to make that happen.  And although I wouldn't  mind chicken, the truth is I don't need it or to think about its lack to make my lunch and enjoy eating it.

I am going to do my very best with what I have physically and mentally each and every day.  I'll continue to do the work that will make me better. And although I wouldn't mind exceptional mobility, killer speed and stellar technique, the truth is I don't  need that or to think about my lack to enjoy training and the  process that comes with it.

We cannot negate our pasts, we cannot change our original lots in life or our previous misfortune. At some point we need to acknowledge and explore what is, what happened and how it effects us today. However the time comes when we must let go of the stories of who we were and what we currently have in order to become more fully who we are and to have all that we are able. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

There is a good chance I'm wrong.

I don't know about  you, but I've done some 360's when it comes to my beliefs, opinions and understanding a on a variety of subjects. 

Every time I  come to a realization that my understanding of something is limited or my mind opens to another way…. it's usually  a difficult transition.  There is this in between "UGHHH!" especially when it comes to the most ingrained ideas.  However I care more about evolving and serving my highest good (which includes my highest impact on the world) than I do about being right or being loyal to a belief system. So I'm willing to change, even if  others judge me for it. Even if it means making a hard choice.

The more the process happens the more I accept the idea  that my current beliefs and opinions are most assuredly flawed in some way.  Somewhere I'm lacking knowledge.  There is something I don't understand.  There is someone else's viewpoint I haven't  yet been able to see.   

I could resign myself to not having an opinion or beliefs, but I think that would mean moving to a monastery and give up all worldly pursuits.  Or I can ACCEPT the idea that I can have a current belief and that it may very well be wrong (at least in someway.)

Contrary to popular belief, acceptance doesn't mean giving up.  Acceptance however, at least in my experience,  both brings me freedom and consequentially joy as well as it makes me more powerful at making positive personal change and change in the world around me.

One way this has played out  for me lately is how I have applied the idea to my beliefs about other people.  I saw a meme the other day that had these three questions…"is it true? is it  kind? is it necessity?" Since I saw it,  I have been using it as a filter when a judgment about someone  pops up. I am noticing that the very first question is most often as far as I have to go.    

Yeah I generally like to be right. And by I, I mean my ego.  However when I really stop to ask myself if my inferences about the person are 100% right….I  almost always realize I could be wrong.  At the very least it opens up my compassion and I see where they might be coming from.  I can imagine their intention, rather than their action. The next thing that happens is that my heart opens and I love them.  Seriously….this is some serious magic. Gives me chills.

I think the world would be served greatly if more of us opened ourselves up to the idea of being wrong. Clinging for dear life to being right, separates us.  If we are 100% right, that means everyone else is 100% wrong. However simultaneously having our ideas and accepting there are others, both right or understandable connects us to each other.  Being right won't save anyone, it’s the possibility of being wrong that allows us to progress, to evolve, to do the work that need to be done, to know freedom and most importantly live and be in love in this world.