Tagged: crossfit

Pursuing Goals Without Attachment

Sunrise

Sunrise

I listened to my little sister read out loud from her book Just One Thing. “To live is to pursue goals”. Truth. “Do you go after goals with attachment or with aspiration? Attachment is stress and drivenness, while aspiration is without outer effort and inner peacefulness, rewarded by the journey itself no matter the destination”. Bells began to go off inside my brain, it felt like there was music. Her voice reading the words played on my heart strings. “At the heart of attachment is craving. Aspiration is working hard without getting hung up on the results. It helps you stretch and grow without worrying about looking bad”.

This is not ground breaking news, as many of us have learned about attachment and aspiration before. However, in that moment, I wanted to raise my hand above my lowered head, squeeze my eyes shut tight, snap my fingers and say “Church!” Hearing this message in a short and succinct manner never gets old. It feels like a gentle reminder to look at your intentions. It’s like a nudge, not even in a particular direction, but one that bumps you back into the present moment.

Post surfing session joy.

Post surfing session joy.

There are many examples I can think of where I truly enjoy the process and am not overly concerned with the outcomes. For me this includes: surfing, CrossFit, cycling, cooking, reading, writing, and a variety of other activities. When I pursue these things, they often help bring me into the present and hold me there. I enjoy the particular steps and all the elements that create the experience. I am satisfied and fulfilled with the results, regardless of the outcome. For example, when I go surfing, I love getting into the water, paddling into the waves, getting my hair wet, sitting on the board, talking shit, catching a wave, getting pummeled, exhausting my shoulders paddling and emerging from the ocean hungry and invigorated. This is not to say that I am not disappointment when I don’t catch a wave or that I don’t have ridiculous fantasies of being a professional surfer babe. That’s not why I keep coming back though. I want to continue surfing because the journey is a package deal that brings me inner peacefulness.

I think the true challenge lies in letting go of the idea of your future self. We care about where we end up. We worry. We work hard. We hope to do well in a review or on a project and when we don’t get the recognition we were hoping for, we feel disappointed. Dr. Rick Hanson from Just One Thing says that aspiration is about liking, while attachment is about craving. It’s hard not to desire that raise or bonus. We all seek acknowledgment, don’t we? Even in the activities that I mentioned above, where I believe that I am acting through aspiration (not attachment), I fantasize about being a pro and getting famous based on that activity (with the exception of cooking). I stick with these activities because I enjoy the process: I like the whole experience. I do not crave the end goal of fame or recognition so much that I am taken out of the present moment.

Goals. Dreams. Desires.

Goals. Dreams. Desires.

So how do we move away from attachment and towards aspiration? Awareness. Awareness is always the first step. You can’t be aware or know about the things you don’t know you don’t know. You got that? The bells went off hearing this passage about aspiration because it reminded me that when you practice awareness on a daily basis, you begin to see when and where you are attached to the results.

Listen, I don’t currently meditate, I’m no Buddhist, but I know that as humans, we tend to gravitate to the path of least suffering. We don’t want to endure pain. So when you do feel pain, pay attention. It’s trying to tell you something. I recently listened to an interview with Meg Wordenon BlogcastFM. She was arrested shortly after giving birth to her son. She spent multiple years in federal prison. A major take away for me has been that you always have a choice. You can fight tooth and nail for your fantasy, no matter how disconnected from reality it is, or you practice loving the path you are on. That’s not to say that you have to love every moment. Meg talks about choosing to learn the lessons that life was handing her. Aspiration seems to be something like this, a dedication to learning through your experiences regardless of the outcome.

Do you have an experience that illustrates the different between liking and wanting? How do you practice awareness? Lara@LaraBuelow.com

Transformation.

Transformation.

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How You Know It’s Good

New favorite colors makes me go "ZING!"

New favorite color makes me go “ZING!”

How do you know when you’ve got something good?

You know when you’ve got something good when you miss it, your body craves it, and when you can feel it nourishing your soul. It’s a thick syrup of satisfaction. It’s the complete exhaustion of a raging dance party, a 4am ski tour, or completing a century ride. You’ve got something good when pride radiates out of you like a supernova and buzzing electric energy keeps you up at night.

However, it isn’t always that easy or obvious to recognize. There are a million and one messages out there in the world telling you what you should want and why. Sometimes we get confused; are we chasing something because we know it’s good or because someone else said so? It’s challenging to tune out all the noise and check in with yourself to see where you really stand.

I know what's going on here and it still trips me up.

I know what’s going on here and it still trips me up.

And what does nourishing your soul mean anyway? There is nourishment that comes in the form of wholesome Fun Type A: hanging out and talking shit with your buddies or going for a stroll. There is also soul nourishment that comes in the form of Fun Type B: writing at 5:30am, prying your eyeballs open and leaking coffee down the front of your sleepy shirt, rappelling down a rock face even though you feel like you might shit your pants, or giving a speech in front of 100 people. Recognizing soul-fertilizing moments can be intuitive and easy or hard and mysterious. Sometimes you just know. You can feel it straight in your gut, even when an activity is a strenuous pain in the ass, yet you soak it all in because you are pumped for the reward that awaits.

Then there are times you aren’t so sure. Maybe you’ve begun taking things for granted or you are tired and overworked. Sometimes I sit and think to myself “what would my life be like if I didn’t hold on to this idea that I have to write? Or set goals?” In the wake of all other daily activities, I wonder if I am adding to my own stress or pursuing a healthy passion. There is always a pregnant pause in the moments following my contemplation of this idea.

I feel like I know I have found something worthwhile when there seems to be no other way and I would otherwise be leading an entirely different life. Even though there is no clearly defined path, I can’t help but try and forge one in order to continue exploring this thing. In my case, writing is a perfect example.

There are mornings where I sit blurry eyed and half asleep (much like this morning) and ask myself “why am I doing this?” I have likely gone to bed after my roommates and I am up well before. The seasons are changing, it’s still dark outside, and I would happily catch up on sleep and recover from my best friend’s wedding this past weekend. Yet, the alarm has gone off, and hot tea in hand, I know that deep satisfaction is on the other side of this writing hurdle.

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Without a dedicated writing practice, I would sleep in and have a shorter list of things to do. I wouldn’t worry about Mondays and Wednesdays and not having anything to post. I wouldn’t have to collect photos or worry about editing them. Without writing, I would have less anxiety based on posting my thoughts online and the fear of looking stupid.

Yet… I do it anyway. My birthday looms of the horizon and it will be my one year anniversary of starting It’s All in the Blanket. Without this blog, I would not receive feedback from several of you about goals and aspirations. Without this writing practice, I would not be as challenged intellectually or experience the swells of inspiration to continue striving for more in my life. I have connected with so many creatives, authors, entrepreneurs, and active community members through my work to create these posts that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You know you’ve got something good when you look back at all the blood, sweat, and tears and every sensation tells you it’s worth it. You know it’s great when it makes you laugh, dance, and sing that you would do it all over again.

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Living a Value Driven Life

End of July 2013... MobilityWOD Tent at the CrossFit Games.

End of July 2013… MobilityWOD Tent at the CrossFit Games. Enjoying coconuts in the heat!

It is August 2013 and I have worked more in the last 12 months of my life than ever before. I have also moved three times and had five different jobs (often multiple at the same time). While my motivation levels have plummeted, my mind continues to race at high speed. I may not be inspired to act on many of my thoughts, but I can’t help asking “What’s next? How can I do this better? Is this what I really want?

I’ve been attempting to cut myself off from streams of input (blogs, podcasts, magazines, email, conferences) that will simply feed the incessant chatter in my head and increase the anxiety about not having “figured it out” yet. I am trying to say no more to information and opportunities that do not serve me, so that I can yes more to healing activities that allow me to process everything that has happened this year.

In August 2012 I was still at the Marin Headlands Hostel and about to go to Burning Man for the first time. Fast forward 8 weeks, I was working at the hostel, Lululemon, and Biergarten. For some reason I thought it was necessary to have multiple jobs to live in San Francisco. Note to self: if you can get by with less hours and just one job, DO THAT. I wrapped up working at the hostel in November, and soon began working at Suppenkuche (in addition to Lululemon and Biergarten). I continued to juggle these three jobs until February 2013. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Get by with a little help from your friends.

Get by with a little help from your friends.

In March I worked 18 – 20 hours a week. That was incredible. A breath of fresh air after holding my face in a murky mud puddle. Not pretty. I was working less, but had also finagled a part time work-trade with San Francisco CrossFit in order to continue my membership at the gym. March quickly turned into April and there was yet another job opportunity that I could not pass up. As soon as I heard about the Office Manager position at San Francisco CrossFit, I knew I had to pounce. So I did. By mid April, I was hired on to the San Francisco CrossFit Team and have never been more proud to accept a paid position.

Between April and July, I toggled between work modes and ran a tight ship. There was little room for error between two double shifts and a 6 day work week. Though my social life has suffered, I’ve met amazing new people, planned a bachelorette party, and accomplished several of my 27×27. In the past 4 weeks, I’ve worked one job, been out of town every weekend, and come face to face with the truth of being a total workaholic.

Working with good people is the only way to do things.

Working with good people is the only way to do things.

I won’t shut up about it. Sometimes it feels like all I do is talk about work and how much and all the time and complain complain complain. I was on the phone with my sister, explaining yet again why I wasn’t available to hang out. Work work work. “I work soooooo much, this is crazy.” There was a short pause. “So why do you do it?” She asked. “I don’t know! I’m sick. I’m totally sick. I suppose I am just not suffering enough. Otherwise, it would be different already” was my reply.

I believe this to be true. In situations where we are the ones in control, we must often suffer severely before we are moved to make significant changes. I am still completely perplexed as to why I kept saying yes to more work. I’m confounded as to why I still have 2 jobs and no vacation planned. Even during the 2 weekends I was away, on non-work related trips, I returned drained and exhausted rather than rejuvenated. How is this possible? Oh, sweet suffering, reveal my limits and let me know personal responsibility. It is a strange and wondrous thing to realize how out of line you are with your own values. Wake up call! This is not how you want to live your life.

If you’ve made it this far, you may be asking “Why does this story matter?” I’m impressed if you’ve read to this point because this is a total “Dear Diary” post. But let me tell you! Perhaps you’ve read this far and thought “Shit, I totally do that too.” Or “I feel this way sometimes,  but how do I know that I’m not in line with my values?” Realizing that we are not living the life we want to live is the first step to acknowledging we are not living in accordance with our values. Do you say one thing and do another? This is a pretty good sign that you are confused about your values and not living in line with them. For example, if I tell you that my friends and family are my priority, but I work all the time and never see them, then you can tell me that I’m full of shit. Actions speak louder than words.

Priorities: It's hard to choose between so many beautiful things.

Priorities: It’s hard to choose between so many beautiful things.

I am using my story about the past year as an example of a wake up call. It is not glamorous, it’s actually down right painful. It brutally sucks. But now that I can see how gross and distorted my decision making process has been, it is opening up space for action! This is exciting! This is a learning opportunity to avoid repeating mistakes in the future. Once we see what motivated us to make the decisions we did, we can look at how they do not align with how we want to live our lives. Or maybe they DO – it’s helpful to recognize how we set ourselves up for success so we can recreate it. Most importantly you have to choose one action that will help you live your values on a daily basis. Here are some examples.

Wake up call! I am not in line with these values:

  • Family and friends
  • Free time to be creative
  • Health

Reflection

  • Realizing I don’t need 3 jobs to survive in SF
  • Recognizing that it was my choice to work the extent of my contract and to stick around
  • Coming to terms with the fact that staying for the community can be enough for a while, that I want to be busy to distract myself from other crap, and because it makes me feel useful.
  • Admitting I am feeling unhealthy and miserable

Action!

  • Quitting
  • Cutting back hours
  • Taking a month to work very little
  • Setting aside time to do important things with friends and family
  • Taking a sick day
  • Reflecting, talking, and writing about my process
  • Asking for help: my family helped me move, my friends have gone out of their way to visit me at work, they have been forgiving and supportive when I have been tired and M.I.A.
Me me me: portrait with Doctor Zhivago poster, my namesake.

Me me me: portrait with Doctor Zhivago poster, my namesake.

My next steps are going to involve a few things from the action list above. First off, I need to cut back my work hours. My work week is not dialed in enough to feel sane. I need to plan a vacation just for me. This is extremely important psychologically. If I can give myself one piece of advice, I say this “If you are feeling burnt out and temporarily insane, it is time to be SELFISH. Do something completely indulgent for yourself that feels special and is in line with your core desired feelings 100%”. Important side note: do NOT allow yourself to feel guilty about this. If you feel guilty, as punishment, tack on another day of vacation.

Clap your hands if you’re workin’ too hard.

Working just right: my first paid work trip!

Working just right: my first paid work trip!

Pick One Thing: August 2013

Rock and Roll Baby: Good Mail Day @DKNGstudios

Rock and Roll Baby: Good Mail Day @DKNGstudios

Writing is going absolutely terrible this week. I blame the lack of sleep. I arrived back in San Francisco from LA (CrossFit Games 2013) at 4:30AM after driving through the night. It completely screwed my sleep schedule and has left me a little cross-eyed. That being said, it’s the lack of planning and commitment on my end that is really holding me back. I have written multiple paragraphs about the definition of strength (somewhat in line with the theme of the Games), but can’t bring myself to post it. It feels like trying on a dress that doesn’t fit right and not wanting to go into the hallway of the dressing room to look in the mirror. I hate that feeling.

But where did this blog start anyway? I am defaulting to writing about the goals that I have left before my birthday, in order to sort out where I need to focus in the next 60 days. Though I may not have written about each specifically, it has become a goal of mine to write more consistently and publish these rants and raves as a way of getting my voice out into the world. So with 60 days left, I have a list of 8 things that are important to me that I am going to attempt to accomplish:

  1. Visit Friends in WA

  2. Go Surfing

  3. Time my Handstand

  4. Get a massage.

  5. Take a Vacation.

  6. Lose 10 lbs. Explore your ideal weight.

  7. Purge your Crap.

  8. Blog your 27 X 27.

I am a strong believer in the rule of 1. I should pick 1 thing to focus on at a time. That’s it. If I choose more than one thing, my rate of success will plummet drastically. The beauty of a few of these things is that if I attempt it once, I can cross it off the list: get a massage, go surfing, and time my handstand. The other items take more planning and daily practice. As I mentioned in my last post, this August I am focusing on my diet to lose weight. For support in accomplishing this goal, I have signed up for the Get It Done In 30 Challenge with Maneesh Sethi and James Swanick and I am planning a Paleo Challenge with a friend at San Francisco CrossFit (interested? Details coming soon)!

Though I could easily write on and on about all the components of this goal and the others, I’m leaving it at that. Focus. Simplicity. August: Diet/lose weight. If more happens, awesome, if not, c’est la vie. Tomorrow is August 1st and I am already overwhelmed. August 2013, here we go.

Ready or not, sucker.

Ready or not, sucker.

Own Up, Buttercup.

Dirt Roads in Taos

Dirt Roads in Taos

We were making the long drive from Taos to Santa Fe. Owen was driving me to the airport. After 3 months living in New Mexico, I was jetting back to San Francisco for a job interview. We pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of a high end grocery store. Stepping out of the car, the blinding sunshine made me squint. The automatic doors opened in front of us and we flip flopped into the air conditioned space. Owen and I wandered the aisles, distracted by our own banter. He even began relaying another story about his Grandma, which I knew at this point, always made him emotional. This is something I loved about Owen. We stood in front of refrigerators filled with milk as Owen reminisced about his sweet Grandmother and how she raised him, tears welling up in his eyes, but keeping a neutral face. There we stood, precious, love-soaked tears and a moment long-gone recalled under florescent lights on top of linoleum. I hugged and kissed him then before taking his hand as we continued on our stroll.

I was seeking something sweet. I was craving a chocolate filled croissant or raspberry muffin. Some delicious, buttery baked-good to put in my belly. Perhaps I was trying to fill the void in my gut, the one that felt that everything created over the last 3 months was coming to an end. The space somewhere between my stomach and my diaphragm that knew better than my brain whether it was excited or scared, but I couldn’t tell the difference. I wanted something warm and comforting in that space. Fill the void, fill the void, give me something. Owen and I had discussed, at length, the ultimate termination of our relationship – or the fact that commitment and definition did not exist between us. The vast expanse seemed to swell. But it was all an illusion, an interpretation to which I was experiencing an emotional response. Ah, sweet human existence. And here we were, spending some of our last intimate moments together at a grocery store somewhere in the middle of New Mexico.

Studio Earthship after a snow storm. October 2011.

Studio Earthship after a snow dusting. October 2011.

Owen was obsessed with CrossFit. He showed me videos of Miranda and other CrossFit babes, he talked to me about nutrition and Paleo, and gave me workouts to do. He showed me burpees, and timed us as we raced to 100 on his cool, mud-tile floor. Owen loved CrossFit and shared it with everyone around him. In his small Earthship studio he had set up a pull-up rig and weightlifting station. He would wrangle people to come over and program a WOD for them. We would do sit-ups and pull-ups inside, then bound out the door to run through the desert, leaping over prickly bushes and side stepping rocks.

I remember one time Owen even did this barefoot. We were working out with a heavy set friend of his who was visiting from Guatemala. Marco, a big strong bear of a man, who let his beer belly grow along with his beard. I outpaced him on the burprees and now we all jogged alongside each other over the cracked earth out on the mesa. As Owen practically hovered over the earth like a gazelle, I focused on regulating my breathing, and Marco thundered forward beside me. Owen put us both to shame with no shoes, gracefully springing over the bramble and natural debris. Marco undoubtedly felt competitive, and attempting his own launch over a bush, caught his foot and took a nose dive into the ground. “Are you OK!?” I asked, “Yea, you hurt Buddy?” said Owen. Marco scrambled up and dusted himself off. “Only my dignity” he replied and we all howled as we plodded onwards.

Earthship and desert. 2011.

Earthship and desert. 2011.

At the store we contemplated snacks for the remainder of our ride. I expressed interest in something glutenous and sugary, while Paul held a juice in his hand. He criticized my non-paleo choice and I promptly got upset and walked away. Jumping into the air, his skinny limbs pursued me. “I’m sorry! What did I say!? I’m just so excited about making healthy choices!!!” He practically yelled. Despite my upset, I laugh cried at this declaration. It was hard to hold anything against him in this moment, because I knew it was true. Owen was simply stoked about making healthy choices, God Damnit.

I often think of this story and think about the honesty behind Owen’s statement: I’m excited about making healthy choices. This is the place that change comes from. You want to lose weight? You want to get up earlier? You want to run a race? You want to write a book? Oh yea? Prove it.

How badly do you want it? Do you really want it or do you just dream about it materializing in front of you? As you train yourself to get excited about making the choices that will actually get you one step closer to your goal, that’s when change begins. The challenge and the beauty is that you don’t have to be excited about those choices right away, but if you want it bad enough, you can learn it. As I sat down to write today, I was not motivated to write about my experience in New Mexico with Owen. I was inspired to tell the story and knew I was because it’s the only thing that occurred to me when I asked myself “If I could write about anything today, what would it be?” Resistance stared back at me. “Just start, Bitch” is what I said to her.

Click-clacking away and 20 minutes later I had almost completed the story. The timer went off on my phone, but I wasn’t finished! Gah! I turned the alarm off and continued writing, determined to get to this point. This point, right here, where I tell you that it’s up to us. Only we ever make ourselves obese, ignorant, and mean. Own up, Buttercup. You are more powerful than you believe.

Sunset NM.

Sunset NM.

You’ve Done It Before

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You have done it before and you will do it again.

What the hell am I talking about? Success. You’ve been successful before in your lifetime, if you’ve made it this far. Maybe you would consider that your only win, but either way, it’s something. And you will be successful again. Have you heard that lately? It feels oddly good to say it: You WILL be successful again. The purpose of this post is to review the context of some of my goals to see where I have been successful so we can recreate that context down the line.

I have completed many of my 27 x 27 goals. 17 to be exact. There is a sense of completion, of follow through, a feeling of “done-ness” with these items. It is immensely satisfying to review it and say “Yea, I did that!” (High Five). Check. Goal setting builds a system for resolution and habit creation by breaking a larger value into measurable and attainable steps. Stevo, the sport psychologists’ mantra echoes in my ears: “Have the courage to start small”. Hell yes. One step at a time, next thing you know, you’re holding a handstand, kicking it at your new job, and attending the CrossFit Games for free.

San Francisco CrossFit Regionals Cheer Team: A fine looking crew. 2013

San Francisco CrossFit Regionals Cheer Team:                            A fine looking crew. 2013

I have 10 goals left to accomplish in 2 months. The other day I signed up for Maneesh Sethi and James Swanwick’s Get It Done in 30 challenge. I wasn’t going to sign up, but once I watched their videos and realized there was still space I decided “What the hell! This is exactly what I have been experimenting with all year!” Get your ass in gear for 21 to 30 day challenges to explore habit change. I am hoping that the Get It Done in 30 challenge will help me accomplish something on this list, specifically, losing weight. This is a goal I seem to really struggle with. As I have explored in the past with Stevo, I have some trouble asking for help. Well: “I NEED HELP!” I need some sort of support.

Another reason for this review is to see where I have been successful and where I have failed. In Maneesh Sethi’s Hack the System Ebook, he explains that recreating the context in which you have been successful before sets you up for success in the future. He also shares a graph demonstrating morale and enthusiasm over the course of a project showing the importance of expecting failure. Applying these concepts is an important step in recognizing my blind spots and how I can accomplish the rest of my list (or at least the goals that are most important to me).

The Misfit Quarterly: AJ Leon

The Misfit Quarterly: AJ Leon

While Maneesh writes about setting yourself up for success and how to accomplish your goals, Danielle LaPorte explores the difference between motivation and inspiration. She explains that motivation is often driven by fear of consequences, whereas inspiration is a deep desire to accomplish something regardless of the cost. Thinking about these concepts has really put a new spin on some of my goals. So let’s get started.

Starting with my new tradition: My new annual ritual is to do some kind of activity (5 mile run/CrossFit WOD/get sweaty) and then get into a body of water on my birthday. These are 2 definable activities that don’t require much in the way of habit change throughout the year to accomplish. It was basically an accident that this became my new tradition. I was visiting Netarts Bay in Oregon with some of my best friends and we decided to do a run on the beach on the morning of my birthday. We ran for a long time and despite the frigid water conditions, knew that it was a special opportunity to get into the ocean. In we went! Year 2 of this ritual approaches. I was successful here because I had a friend who joined me for the activity and we were having fun. I doubt I would have gone on the run or jumped into the ocean solo. Either way I wouldn’t have done them for as long as I did. This September: I would like to do another workout on the beach and go for a swim. Care to join me?

With friends at Netarts Bay, OR 2012.

With friends at Netarts Bay, OR 2012.

My goal of making a reading list is about inspiring myself to read. Getting myself back into the habit of reading is super challenging. It comes and goes in spurts all the time. I have been getting better, but I hardly ever read at the same time of day, which seems to be a major component to creating this habit. I am successful if I read before I go to bed, take public transportation, or take a break at work and sit at a cafe. I was extremely successful with The Fire Starter Sessions because Maria and I had a book club and would meet to discuss the chapters. AH! Maneesh Sethi is right again! Accountability always wins!

I completed Interchange, the counseling program. Paying money and attending an organized class where other people care about your attendance is a strong motivator. I know people cared about whether I showed up or not because when I arrived, we took attendance in our home group and talked about where the people who were not present were. How did we know where the missing people were? Well, the first couple of times people didn’t show, members of the group got upset and made it known! After that we hardly ever had an unexplained absence. Group accountability strikes again! Note: Your action or inaction  in a group always speaks. Your participation in life or lack thereof does not go unnoticed, so do things with intention.

Fire Starter Sessions: Danielle La Porte + Interchange = My Life On Fire.

Fire Starter Sessions: Danielle La Porte + Interchange = My Life On Fire.

Goals that I accomplished because I had support and/or accountability:

  • A new tradition
  • Read a book
  • Interchange
  • CrossFit Open
  • Armory Tour
  • Blog
  • New Jobs

I submitted mail art to people around the world. I work well with deadlines. Having a final date and knowing that it is quickly approaching gets me going. I often leave things till the last minute because then I get nervy about them and set aside the time to accomplish the task. Sure, it can feel like poor planning, but otherwise the urgency just isn’t there. Having a finite timeline in the near future is by far the best way to get me to do something. Accountability to the clock!

Goals that I accomplished because they were time-bound:

  • Job Applications/Interviews
  • CrossFit Level 1 Certificate
  • Submitted mail to mail art show
  • Blog

My sharable “explore something sexy” goal is that I read an erotic novel and attended a book talk by the author of the Boudoir Bible. Lightning struck on this one. I had a conversation with a friend about the Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and was so intrigued by the premise of the book that I went out and bought it. Reading erotic fiction was exciting, as you can imagine, so I got through it in a reasonable time frame. However, there was no accountability here, only fodder for my own ideas. Reading the novel inspired me to look up erotic literature events in San Francisco, which lead me to Betony Vernon’s talk about the Boudoir Bible that was being hosted the day after I discovered it. I blindly jumped at the opportunity (having no idea who she was) and showed up. Lightning and the magical cosmos inspired action? I’m so glad I attended.

Goals I accomplished because I was inspired/magic happened:

  • Reading/Book List
  • Expressing my feelings
  • Writing my 12 commandments
  • New Jobs
  • Went to yoga for a week after not having been in 1 year
  • CrossFit Gear
  • Attending Betony Vernon’s Boudoir Bible talk
  • Blogging

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These are all the goals that I have completed and that make me feel successful. What context have I been most successful in? By far, the things that I am most proud of and seem to have influenced me the most are where I have community involved. I am super inspired to accomplish all the things on my list, so combining it with a defined time line and the support of others makes for a potent combination. Any goal that I have not yet accomplished is directly related to not having a buddy and/or a due date. Of course my birthday is a deadline, in theory, but that is not enough for all goals.

In short, I intend to quickly weed out the things that I am not inspired by out of my life and replace them with things that do. The goals that have not yet been completed, I am rededicating myself to them and enlisting support for the next 2 months. What the fuck is this list for if not for fun and a little challenge? GSD.

Get inspired.

Get inspired.

Sneak Peek

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You have done it before and you will do it again.

What the hell am I talking about? Success. You’ve been successful before in your lifetime, if you’ve made it this far. Maybe you would consider that your only win, but either way, it’s something. And you will be successful again. Have you heard that lately? It feels oddly good to say it: You WILL be successful again. The purpose of this post is to review the context of some of my goals to see where I have been successful so we can recreate that context down the line.

I have officially completed many of my 27 x 27 goals. 17 to be exact. There is a sense of completion, of follow through, a feeling of “done-ness” with these items. It is immensely satisfying to review it and say “Yea, I did that!” (High Five). Check. Goal setting builds a system for resolution and habit creation by breaking a larger value into measurable and attainable steps. Stevo, the sport psychologists’ mantra echoes in my ears: “Have the courage to start small”. Hell yes. One step at a time, next thing you know, you’re holding a handstand, kicking it at your new job, and attending the CrossFit games for free.

Getting Back on the Horse

What do you do when you fall off the horse? That’s right – you get back on.

In May I wrote 26 days out of 31. I haven’t written since June 3rd, but the time has come to start again. In May I focused on writing. I  stayed the course, writing almost every day, and experimented with posting to this blog twice a week (every Monday and Wednesday). In May I published 9 blog posts. Writing and posting this frequently has allowed me to explore several other themes this month.

I began by asking “what’s wrong with these pants?”  My way of exploring body issues and seeking to change my thought patterns in order to avoid further developing a self deprecating attitude. Especially while shopping because shopping is supposed to be fun and it sucks to be stuck crying in a dressing room somewhere, when we should all be striving to love ourselves more everyday.

Following my exploration of jeans and our psyche, I explored how one defines success. Maybe it’s by recognizing evil thoughts about your own body and reminding yourself you are WUNDERBAR! It’s an interesting thing to question your definitions of success because it is likely to uncover something either highly influenced by your parents or society and expose dreams that you may be discrediting.  This can be an incredibly powerful process because you can reframe your ideas and start building an empowering definition of success that supports who are. You may begin to see areas of your life you have been successful in that you didn’t realize before. It’s a great way to prioritize projects in your life and start moving towards the things you really care about.

May is national Bike to Work Month. I wrote a Bike to Work Day post about how I think bicycles are the coolest form of transportation. Did you know that they are still the most efficient form of transport in the world?! That blows my mind every time I think about it. I love riding bicycles. Get out an set yourself free!

While listening to BlogcastFM, I found out about a book called What Superachievers Have in Common by Camille Swiney and Josh Gosfield. I was so intrigued by the interview that I immediately went to a book store and bought it. I could write a blog post about every chapter, so I chose a few that stuck with me and started writing. The book is full of inspirational stories that make you want to get off your ass and practice getting totally awesome at something. It is also a great reminder of all the unconventional paths there are available in the world. Ever thought about what it would be like to create crossword puzzles for a living? Or designing baseball stadiums? Yea, don’t sweep your dreams under the rug, because chances are we need your crazy idea.

One of my favorite chapters in Superachievers is: How to be the Most Fabulous You. I think about Simon Doonan pretty much every day now. I hate feeling average or boring and feel that style and dress have the ability to brighten the world through our clothing choices. So I really take it to heart when Doonan says “dress everyday as though you were going to a Lady Gaga concert, you’re guaranteed to have more fun”. This is it, folks, this is your life. It’s all about today, there may not be a tomorrow. Get out there and express yourself!

My favorite blog post of the month is Rejection Sucks. Not only does the title sum up exactly how I feel, but this post explores several topics that I am super passionate about (relationships, vulnerability, risk, and love/hardcore crushes). It feels good to reflect on an experience that was painful, process the story, and come out the other side feeling like I’ve done the work to move on. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has a wonderful blog post called The Obstacle is the Path, that was wonderfully serendipitous to read at the time. It can be a hard pill to swallow; the anger, the hurt, the rejection – that is the path. Walk it.

Embracing my own path, I came out and declared myself a Dear Diary blogger. Ah! The weight off my chest! I love Dear Diary blogging! I love owning my own shit and getting straight on my motivations. I asked myself why am I writing? I explored who I write for and what the writing process does for me. I wrapped up the month with Feats of Strength, a post reviewing my work at the CrossFit NorCal Regionals. It is impactful to watch humans perform such intense activities. It was an inspiring event that made me question where I want to focus my energy in my own exercise practice.

Believe it or not, that was the month of May. It felt good to write regularly and digest the various parts of my life that can seem so disparate. These posts helped me weave the different corners of my life together, in true blanket fashion. Superachievers meet CrossFit games, Zen Habits meet CrossFit thighs, rejection meet writing practice, blogging meeting psychology and Bam! 9 blog posts later I fall off the horse. Here is me dusting myself off and getting back on.

Feats of Strength

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This weekend was the NorCal CrossFit Regional Games 2013, hosted at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

It was an incredibly intense three days. The level of competition was palpable. My voice was hoarse by the end of the day one and I knew we were only getting started. San Francisco CrossFit attended with three individuals and one team. Our individuals were Courtney Walker, Lisa Warren, and Elizabeth Helton. Our team was comprised of: Tonya White, Natalie Durino, Erin Moody, Sam Sailor, Will Sockolov, and Brian Hassan.

Team San Francisco CrossFit Represent

Team San Francisco CrossFit Represent

I am inspired by all the athletes, it’s a fight and people are there to win. At the same time, fellow competitors and fans cheered each other on and support was abundant in the stands and on the grounds. Being a newbie to the CrossFit world over the past year, it was crazy to be part of the CrossFit Open which felt homegrown. Though the production on TV of games athletes from last year definitely shows the corporate exposure of CrossFit. Attending the regionals demonstrated to me the exponential growth of the sport of fitness in the world. Going from the Open at our own gyms, to the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, though not huge, put the  growth of CrossFit in perspective.

Our very own, Lisa Warren.

Our very own, Lisa Warren.

It isn’t only the media coverage and the stands packed with cheering fans. The level of competition happening in all heats blew my mind. These people are so strong. I feel like their quads could crush my skull. Looking at them, they look like the bodies of lore, made from the flesh of gods. Their muscles ripple in the sunlight, glistening with sweat. No matter how cut their abs are, they are lifting insanely heavy weight and moving fast. It’s actually difficult for me to comprehend and it’s happening infront of my own eyes. Standing at the sidelines, jaw hanging open in awe, I wondered “Is this real?” Yes, they did just do one hundred pull-ups, yes, they did just run from rope climbs to cleans.

Will Sokolov on the rope.

Will Sockolov on the rope.

I am walking away from Regionals feeling motivated as an athlete. I am inspired to look at my life and analyze my workouts from the stand point of “What do I want?” I want to remain consistent, I want to get stronger, and I want to build coordination. The competition has rekindled my faith in the belief that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to. Make shit happen. Do one thing today that makes you stronger/happier/more at peace tomorrow. Prioritize for you. If you were hit by a bus tomorrow, what would you do today? This is a question that helps me put life in perspective. Vulnerability can suck, but you know what sucks more? Not making ourselves vulnerable, not facing our fears, and not knowing what’s on the other side.

This is what's on the other side.

This is what’s on the other side.

 

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

I am coming out. There are two things I would like to claim: first, I am a “me too” blogger. Second, I am also a “Dear Diary” blogger. In case you haven’t noticed. Part of me questions whether these things are true, but there is a sense of power in claiming them and I do believe that I indulge in both of these aspects of blogging.

“Me Too” Blogging is jumping on the bandwagon, the same one that 164 million people are on, and writing a blog. Because, why not? I want to do it too. It is the style of blog that may seem a bit repetitive or broad. You have read it a million times before and chances are you are regurgitating someone else’s information. I would like to think that I am not quite this bad. I attempt to portray myself genuinely. I wrote a few mean (as in sharp) essays in college and I can write critically about others content. I do, however, love borrowing, reflecting and riffing off of other people’s work. I have known this about myself for a long time. Even as a visual artist, I love collage, I love practicing painting master’s styles, and I adore using other peoples imagery and adapting it to myself. That being said, I value making things my own and going through unique transformations with ideas and concepts I am working with. I feel the need to embrace “me too” blogging because I write about a wide variety of topics, rather than focusing on something specific. Which brings me to another claim I would like to make.

Self Portrait Painting 2005

Self Portrait Painting 2005

If I put myself in a category, this one fits fairly well: I am a “Dear Diary” Blogger. Not only do I see others writing blogs and say “me too!”, I love nothing more than writing a “Dear Diary” post. I write my blog mainly for me. It all comes back to me. I want to practice writing and I want to practice posting my work. How do I do that? I write and then I put it on my blog. The truth about writing? It’s fucking hard. I struggled with the writing process growing up and writing in college was often a pain. But I find myself writing all the time, constantly, whether in list form or in a journal. When I paint and draw, I often include text in my pieces. So how do I claim something I love and continue to practice with intention? I keep it fun! There is a time and place for suffering. Writing is challenging enough as it is for 20 minutes, so to ensure that I write everyday, I tell myself that I can write about whatever the hell I want.

Did you know that most bloggers stop writing after 3 months? I’ve started multiple blogs, primarily for travel journal purposes, but I have kept It’s All in the Blanket going since September (that’s almost 7 months). I’ve only increased my writing time. Even if it is a “Dear Diary” blog, I enjoy having a space where I can tie the pieces of life together. In this way, I have remained consistent with the theme of “It’s All In The Blanket.”

FuBarbell BackBend 2013

FuBarbell BackBend 2013

Consistency builds strength. Strength builds power. Power makes me feel more fabulous.

It’s self love month, do something nice for yourself today that will make you feel stronger tomorrow.

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