Tagged: habits

You Should

A friends house in Bellingham, WA

A friends house in Bellingham, WA

It has been a long week. I was out of town in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington over the weekend and, of course, traveling doesn’t make keeping a routine any easier. I wrote a bit while I was away, but the trip made it challenging. I will blame the changing seasons and the nostalgia overload for my resistance in the past several days. Returning to the Bay Area, stepping out of the Oakland airport, I was immediately relieved by how warm it is here. Yes. The Fall I had been waiting for. Such a relief after the nipping cold that has already struck the Pacific Northwest.

Oakland Airport

Oakland Airport

I have returned to early alarms in the morning followed by 20 minutes of writing, but I have been dragging my feet. I got out of work today and was walking through the late afternoon sun across the parking lot thinking about writing and the resistance that is relentless inside of me at the moment. I’ve had trouble keeping my eyes open, my mind wanders, and I write things that don’t make any sense (not even to me). I am even having trouble revisiting anything I’ve written already long enough to edit. Soaking up the suns warmth, it dawned on me that I continuously have thoughts that I should be writing, I should be posting.

We all have a long list of “should’s” in our lives and it’s a fascinating thing that happens when you look at the difference between things that we are somehow obligated to do (or think we are) and those that we reward ourselves with. For me, writing is fun. I started without anyone asking me to and I continue to do so without any outside obligation. So why do I keep telling myself that I should write? That I should be posting to this blog?

University Bridge in Seattle, WA

University Bridge in Seattle, WA

I feel that I should because I want to be committed and act like a professional. You do not get proficient or good at a skill without dedication. If you practice any skill long enough, there comes a time when you feel resistance towards it. The number one reason most people do not master a skill is that they give up shortly after they have began.

This is a common theme for me, as well. I have a lot of interests and ideas, many of which I am excited about right out of the gate. However, give me a couple of days and it is possible I’ve forgotten about it completely. Or I’ll pretend I have to mask the embarrassment from lack of follow through. That being said, there are several things I am quite passionate about and have spent countless hours working on. A few of these would be bicycle touring and bike maintenance, reading and writing, painting and drawing, business and personal development. These passions have taken me on a cross-country bicycle tour, overseas to study art, and to multiple conferences to meet authors and entrepreneurs. This is to name a few benefits of follow through.

A friends bike rack installed in Bellingham, WA

A Kyle Morris bike rack installed in Bellingham, WA

The experiences that I consider amongst my greatest accomplishments are the results of longer term projects where I endured the ebb and flow of inspiration and interest. Then comes the nagging “should”. I wish I could eliminate this word from my brain. It sucks the fun out of an activity like a vacuum pack seal. I’m annoyed just typing about it. We do not pursue things like surfing or painting or music because we should. We pursue our passions because we are inspired to do so, because we have no other choice, because it connects and flows out of us, when it wills it to be so.

So I feel forced to ask, but really it’s a simple question that surfaces in my mind: are there things we should do? I don’t really believe so. I would like to answer that we should be kind and we should take care of ourselves. However, I can’t help think of Byron Katie and follow up my answer with another question: is that true? Can we know it to be true that we should be kind? A question for another time and blog post.

Satisfied with a few hours in the water.

Satisfied with a few hours in the water. You SHOULD get into the Pacific ocean.

Walking through the parking lot I realized that my resistance grows when I feel like I should be doing something. I am passionate about writing and about treating it like a professional practice. I want to be a proficient writer, therefore I want to work on writing everyday. Should I write? I do not know the answer to that question. I know only that when I say the inverse – I should not write – that my mind flips a little and reverts to thinking “What?! But I MUST write!” The thought of losing the practice, of foregoing the blog, of abandoning writing, is more painful than the irritation of the “should”. That being said, I tire of thinking I should anything and hope to slowly eradicate it from my mind.

Are there things you feel people are obligated to do? When do you tell yourself you should be doing something? How does it feel to have the opposite thought – that you should not be doing that thing? Would love to hear it: Lara@LaraBuelow.com

Reach for the stars.

Reach for the stars.

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Welcoming Destruction into Your Life

 

Cut through the red tape.

Cut through the red tape.

How do you feel about what must be destroyed in your life?

This is a question posted by Danielle LaPorte for Desire Map followers. We are starting a book club. Lucky for me – blog post prompts weekly and plenty of people to discuss them with. This question has irked me because I feel inspired and excited about the destruction of several things or parts of my life, but I run into a problem. How do you fully embrace destruction and start acting? Meaning, how to I get down with destruction and start lighting shit on fire?

Sitting in my bed writing this, I look up and it’s glaringly obvious that clutter must be destroyed. There is a lot of crap in this room that needs to be eliminated. It’s like a slap in the face because I realize that I already have an answer to my question. So how do I really feel about what needs to be destroyed in my life? Annoyed. Cleaning house – it isn’t exactly number one on my list of inspiring activities.

These shoes: an inspiration or shameless creation?

These shoes: an inspiration or shameless creation?

So how can I use my excitement about destroying unnecessary crap in my life into action instead of stewing in annoyance? This is the dry part where you have to channel David Allen in order to Get Things Done. Time to enroll in Getting Shit Done (GSD) University (Fist PoundShot of Espresso). Put your big girl pants on (or take them off if that makes you more comfortable) and make a concrete list of action specific items only. Here is an example of a bad list:

  • Clean Room
  • Bike Box Stuff
  • Laundry
  • Clear Desk

Here is an example of a GSD List:

  • Fold clean laundry
  • Put shoes in closet
  • Vacuum rug
  • Sort bike box: throw out crap, organize box and put under bed
  • Sort through misc papers: recycle or file

Since these are all actionable items that are relevant to cleaning my room, I may make a GSD Clean Room Project List. It’s useful to make lists based on location, which includes an On the Go or Out and About list that you can reference while you are running errands. Once you begin breaking tasks down into smaller actionable items, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it might be to do them. When I go through this process it becomes glaringly obvious to me where my hang ups are. OH, that’s why I haven’t budged on cleaning my floor: I can’t vacuum until I buy new vacuum bags and I’m really dragging my feet on going to that particular store. No more excuses! Why am I resistant to that? Usually the best answer I can come up with is I don’t feel like it (lazy). Time to kick myself in the ass and get going.

Even if you knew, how would you get started?

Even if you knew, how would you get started?

Writing a GSD list helps us become clearer on what needs to be destroyed in our lives. Maybe laziness needs to be dealt with. Or procrastination. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to look at what your priorities are and honor them. Screw the vacuum bags! Sweep the rug. Your time is precious and you would rather spend time reading.

Based on my analysis of destroying clutter, I can see that I need to set aside some time to get started. I like the start small approach and remind myself often that giving a project 5 – 20 minutes a day will get me farther than thinking I have to do it all in one go. I have decided that I want to touch every item in my bedroom and ask if it still needs to be in here. If it doesn’t, I throw it out or give it away. This is just the beginning. Choose one thing and get started. It’s time to turn up the music and get your hands dirty.

What is one thing that needs to be destroyed in your life? How will you get started? Lara@LaraBuelow.com

Get Creative.

Get Creative.

27×27: The End

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Looking at my goal list for the past year, I am most proud of 2 things. The first is that I committed to blogging each of my goals and this exercise made me realize that something I really enjoy is the writing itself. It feels satisfying that I have embraced the writing process and stuck with it over the last twelve months. Especially to simply relish the act of writing, without judging the end product. The second thing I am proud of this year is that I made several huge changes in my life and am still working hard to create the life I want to live. If that’s too vague for you: I am so happy that I moved to San Francisco and have been able to find rewarding work. I am incredibly grateful to be at San Francisco CrossFit and Suppenküche, two companies where I’ve met some of the most amazing people in my life.

SFCF made some big changes this year, too: Moving indoors, out of the rain.

SFCF made some big changes this year, too: Moving indoors, out of the rain.

These two things also translate into what I am most grateful over the last year. I am grateful for all the love and support I got from my family and friends. I am grateful for the people who offered me work and flexibility in my schedule, coworkers who helped me out, and both the constructive and positive feedback I’ve received from people in different areas of my life. I also appreciate California Sunshine, the ability to take vacations in far off places, and the wild adventurous opportunities that present themselves to me.

On Monday, I will turn 27 and my 27×27 year will be complete. Friends have been asking what 28×28 will look like, but I can’t say it looks very appealing. It isn’t edgy enough. It’s putting too many items on a list, it’s too arbitrary. I need something with a bit more gusto. I want an divine list, not one that induces guilt over an unchecked box. I thought about beginning a 3×30 or 30×30 project, as it’s dawning on me that a decade benchmark is approaching. It’s still in the cards. However, in an effort to distance myself from numbers and quantifying everything, I would like to experiment with living the next year in a quality-inspired manner.

California Sunshine

California Sunshine

So I am crafting a plan for living my next year of life using the Desire Map. I will use my core desired feelings as my compass and my 12 commandments as my guiding constitution. THIS SOUNDS SO CORNY. Cue Phil Collins, because that’s my JAM. Hopefully over the next 12 months I will be able to communicate all of this in a way that sounds more hardcore and less “floofy”. That’s the (non) word that comes to mind. But right now it’s all I’ve got.

Fear Less. Love More.

Fear Less. Love More.

Dear Diary

photo_8

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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Defining Success

photo_2Now is a good time to know what your measure of success is.

Take a moment and think about what success means to you. Is it a finite, measurable thing? Does it have a face or a name? Is it a color? How does it show up? Is it related to a part of your body? Where does your awareness go? What emotions do you think of when you hear “Success!”? What most recent memory do you have where you felt successful or proud?

For me, success is getting 20 minutes of writing done in the morning, watching sunlight spill over the hill and hit the building across the street through the open window. It is a feeling that pops up spontaneously and suddenly, like a pounding hammer hitting a high striker all the way to the top. “Ding Ding!” Real success feels like a solid force. It stands confidently behind you, letting you know it’s got your back. “Keep going” it says. It gives you a nudge as you continue down your path day after day, or sometimes a shove when it’s time to get your ass in gear.

"Ding Ding!" Someone did something right here.

“Ding Ding!” Someone did something right here.

Feelings of success can be stirred up, coaxed, and encouraged through simple reflection. I find that I feel much more successful around my goals or whatever is going on when I sit down and reflect on it’s role in my life. This is why I am working on documenting my 27 x 27 goals month by month. The writing component has become significantly more important and has a huge influence on the goals themselves. For example, last month I felt pathetic about the list of things I was trying to accomplish everyday. However, writing about the attempt allows me to see that (1) I was taking on way too much, and (2) that what actually feels more important is reflecting about why I want to accomplish these tasks. It is the process of writing it down, and simply getting in the habit of recording more information in a straightforward way that is important to me.

Gimme dem lemons!

Gimme dem lemons!

Success is a feeling and it is animated in my head. It’s getting the job at San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF) and feeling genuine as I jump up and down and flail my limbs. It’s being told what a valuable person I am to have at Suppenküche and my lips stretching into a smile. It’s getting hugs and high fives. The feeling of success keeps me up at night, like a 7 year old anticipating the tooth fairy. It is the kind of happiness that is persistent and contagious. It is like an ocean wave hitting me and being carried along with the flow. I swell with pride. I stop giving a shit about what others think and I want to sing and dance my way through the elation.  Success feels like resolute satisfaction. It is like a breath of fresh air, a sense of clarity that says “Yes, this feels right”.

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P.S. Take a moment to check out the Urban Dictionaries definitions of success, it may inspire some new perspectives and ways of looking at your own life. Or just give you a good laugh.

What’s wrong with your pants?

Nothing like a little Vonnegut to make your day. So it does!

Nothing like a little Vonnegut to make your day. So it does!

Ka-POW! So it came, so it went. So it goes. What a month! How did I do goal-wise? This is when it’s a good time to know what your measure of success is. If I hit my target 1 out of  2 times, do I feel successful? This month, I feel like a failure as far as measuring certain actions: days at Crossfit, mobilization, eating well/paleo, writing, hours at work, reading and counseling.

How do I feel like I failed? I only did “serious” mobilizing 10 out of 30 days this month. In the same way that I feel I need to focus more on diet and nutrition to improve my overall health (versus exercising more), I believe that I need to focus on mobilizing effectively to improve my athletic performance. My knee needs targeted help, so do my shoulders. They aren’t going to magically get better all on their own, so I need to show them some love. More than 10 days of love per month.

Read Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett for every tip you have ever wanted to fix your bad self.

Read Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett for every tip you have ever wanted to fix your bad self.

I have not been writing everyday. I have barely been writing at all. I wrote 14 out of 30 days. Not terrible, but not good. It sucks, actually. I feel so disappointed. It’s physically more difficult to sit and write. Not writing for 20 minutes a day, letting it slip for multiple days at a time, makes it infinitely more challenging to get ideas out in a way that flows. Writing for smaller chunks of time on a regular basis allows me to review what I have written recently and begin to play with ideas that intrigue me. The process of work and play come out. The editing process begins to unfold, structure and substance begin to arise and that feels awesome. Saying to myself that I will post to It’s All in the Blanket only twice a month is a terrible idea. It is nowhere near enough to motivate me to write everyday. However, maybe what I was posting would be well crafted and “deep” if I did write everyday in between those posts… That being said, I have a huge list of topics I would love to write about, so posting twice a month really doesn’t cut it.

Bottom line: I feel like I’ve failed as far as writing throughout April. SOoooo, I signed up for Leo Babauta’s Sea of Change program this month! May = Writing Month! I’m getting back on the horse. Leo is sending out accountability emails and writing prompts for the month of May. Let’s start fucking shit up! It’s also Bike to Work Month and National Masturbation and Radical Self-Love Month. I have BIG goals surrounding all of these things! May is going to be very exciting! Are you ready!?

Mobilizing and writing are where I can feel the disappointment most acutely. Overall, I feel like I haven’t measured things as much as I was aiming to. It makes me feel like a failure, not being able to fill out my measurable goals sheet for April. My conclusion is that I took on too much. I bit off more than I could chew. I have more specific measurements, I can get numbers for almost every category, but I’m not particularly impressed in my level of involvement in any of them.

Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. Keep it real.

Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte and Dune.         Keepin’ it real.

The way I am trying to change my attitude towards jeans is similar to how I want to rephrase my attitude towards goals this month. In the last month, I have found every single pair of pants that I own are ripped. I have had most of them for over 3 years. Finding new jeans is hardly ever an enjoyable experience. Since beginning CrossFit, my body has changed a lot and I am still adjusting. I find that most jeans are made for skinny people or people without muscles. Pants tend to be too tight in the thighs and butt. I have endless ideas for making sexy clothes for fit and curvy people, just another business idea kicking around. So during my quest to find new jeans, I realized I would feel really shitty about myself and my brain would get stuck on repeat “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my body? Why don’t these pants fit perfectly!?” This is bullshit.

I hit the pause button as much as I can. I hit pause, take a breath, and then say to myself “Bitch, please! What the fuck is wrong with these jeans?!” The therapist I have talked to since 2004, Tonja, has told me that I should practice thought-stopping. A practice that I am not very good at. So, here I am, practicing. Notice that son-of-a-bitch thought that makes you feel bad → stop it. Then replace it with positive one. It’s good to have a go-to thought to replace any negative thought with. The Jeans Quest auto-replacement thought is: What is wrong with these jeans?

May: Radical Self Love Month

May: Radical Self Love Month

To bring this analogy full circle, what I am trying to accomplish is the following: instead of asking myself “what is wrong with me? Why did I not accomplish all 54 million goals on my list this month?” I am attempting to reframe my thinking  with thoughts such as “What stopped me from accomplishing my goals this month? What’s wrong with the goal? How can I take a step back and set myself up for success next time? What’s wrong with this system?” This is the only way I can stay motivated for the coming month. I can approach new goals today because I know the weakness was lack of focus and making goals that were too big. How will I do better in May? I am going to focus on writing.

And guess what? I found AWESOME jeans. They don’t only fit, they feel and look amazing. People tell me so. I love them. Here’s a major plug: CrossFit girls, drop the $$$, Lucky Brand has jeans that are bangin’! They fit and flatter my curvy muscles and are delicious feeling. Try on a pair of these pants and then celebrate your bad self with a mimosa. Jeans aren’t worth crying over (which I have done). Thank You Lucky Brand, Thank You Tonja – cheers to living boldly! Love, Strength, and Vigor, Baby Cakes.

Good Mail Day

Good Mail Day

Tea With Leo Babauta and Jesse Jacobs Part II

View of the San Francisco Bay

View of the San Francisco Bay

Our discussion over tea and chocolate continued into the afternoon. Here is what we covered.

Making declarations and logging progress as a way of holding yourself accountable. Leo made the excellent point that telling other people about your goals is a great way to start holding yourself accountable. You can go as far as asking someone to track your progress with you, or keep it as simple as sharing your projects with someone. If you know that even just one other person will be following up with you, you increase your chances of sticking to your word. There are many ways to go about this, many of which I have discussed with Stevo and written about here on my blog. Habit change is a tricky thing and everyone knows we get by with a little help from our friends.

When we experience hope and fear it is because we are attached to outcomes. When Leo said this, I had an “Ah ha!” moment. It seems so simple, but I don’t normally think about my hopes and fears this way. I feel that it is a good reminder of the stories that we are telling ourselves and how we often embellish the outcomes before they have happened. It is refreshing to step back and ask ourselves what we fear about a particular outcome or why we are hoping for something. Then take it one step further and realize we will be OK regardless of what happens.

5 word business plan. An “ah ha!” moment wrapped into a gold nugget right here. This is what my post “Confused? Contribute!” is all about! A simple 5 word business plan. Here it is: How Can I Help You? Run with this.

Whisper marketing. If I haven’t yet mentioned BlogcastFM one hundred times, let me continue to work towards that number. Leo and Jesse both spoke to marketing and getting the word out about what they do. They both prefer to practice gentler kinds of advertising, relying mostly on word of mouth and slow community building techniques. The reason I bring up BlogcastFM is because that is immediately what came to mind when they said “whisper” marketing. Srini, the co-founder and host of the show, asks all his interviewees how they stand out in a world with so much noise. Well, it isn’t by talking louder.

How to title blog posts. Leo has blogging down to an art. He’s very good at what he does and that’s why I attended this event. Here are some bread and butter techniques for titling your blog. First, your title must convey a benefit. Second, it must instill curiosity. Do this in 5 words or less if you can. Some things to think about: Why is what you are writing about a problem? Why should your readers care? Give them a reason! What is the solution? Make sure you include an actionable item to effectively close the post. This builds attention and trust.

Post regularly. From my understanding, it matters less how often, just keep it regular. Once a week, once a month, 4 times a year…

Give away your secrets! Making yourself vulnerable and sharing deepens your relationship to readers by building trust and providing resources. Leo really drove this one home and I think it is a special edge to any blogger. It’s scary to share ourselves with the world. It shows when we do. Really amazing things happen when you share things with others.

The tea and chocolate were incredible and the company was awesome. I have a lot of work ahead of me and attending Mindful+Entrepreneur is motivating me to get my ass in gear. Cheers to taking it to the next level!

A dog riding a skateboard. Practice really pays.

A dog riding a skateboard. Practice really pays.

P.S. To make it really clear – What is a problem that you have? You are trying to improve your blog but you don’t know how. What’s the solution? Simple homework: post regularly. Make a schedule. Right now.

Tea with Leo Babauta and Jesse Jacobs

Fancy stairs in a hotel downtown SF - not Samova. But still fun!

Fancy stairs in a hotel downtown SF – not Samovar. Still fun!

PART I:

I attended the Mindful + Entrepreneur tea and chocolate tasting event hosted by Leo Babauta and Jesse Jacobs, and naturally was reminded immediately of our interconnectedness. As soon as we began, I sat next to Andrea, owner of Satori Yoga Studio. Why is this serendipitous? Because my good friend, Debbie Steingesser, who helped me get the seasonal job at Lululemon and who I work out with regularly at San Francisco CrossFit is also a yoga teacher at Satori. So a wonderful woman who was only one degree removed from my acquaintance, is now my tea and chocolate tasting buddy. This was a great way to kick off the event, it made me feel right at home.

Me enjoying a beverage.

Me enjoying a beverage.

Leo and Jesse gave each other introductions and we all introduced ourselves. We had a well rounded group: Andrea from Satori, Travis a fellow CrossFitter, Ashley from Buy Nothing New, and Nealy from Vice Chocolates, to name a few. Then Leo and Jesse began to speak towards building a mindful practice. While both practice meditation, Jesse discussed how developing a ritual, such as brewing tea creates the space to deepen our awareness. We reviewed briefly how to brew our tea and how to examine the leaves, inhale the aroma, and to sip our tasty beverages.

With each step in the tea brewing process, Jesse encouraged us to become aware of negative space. Where are the pauses in our lives? How can we embrace them and bring our awareness to those spaces? For example, Jesse meditates as the water for his tea boils. He intentionally does nothing and practices emptying his mind.

View from Samovar - Yerba Buena

View from Samovar – Yerba Buena

As a way of deepening our understanding of mindfulness, Leo then talked about his own meditation practice and his time management throughout the day. He highlighted intention and how that can be a clarifying element to any task. Ask yourself: what is my intention? You may find yourself in a pregnant pause when posing this question.

Maybe you don’t have time to sit around asking yourself about intention. You are too busy for that shit. Well, Leo and Jesse know as well as anyone how busy life can get. Our lives are ripe with potential and brimming with activity. How do we even know what to prioritize? Nevermind exploring intention. Here Leo described his organic experiments with time management. He says he is trying to cultivate an internal trust within himself that he will do what needs to get done. This is a relentless practice against value judgments.

What do I mean when I say let go of value judgments? I mean stop telling yourself that one thing is good and another is bad. The majority of the time those are simply stories our mind is telling us. It is important to realize the nature of reality – what is here and now.

Wall of Tea at David's Tea - Chestnut Street

Wall of Tea at David’s Tea – Chestnut Street

So as Leo is going through his day, he is actually practicing getting in touch with his intuition and using that as a compass to prioritize which tasks will get done. Obviously, around this time of year, we all have certain things that we simply must do. Like taxes. Here is a good opportunity to practice patience and compassion, mostly with ourselves. Sometimes we just need to do what needs to get done, so that everything doesn’t fall apart down the line. Being aware of the tasks that take more of our emotional energy, it might be smart to reward yourself with afternoon tea at Samovar after dealing with taxes.

Sunday Brunch at the Buelow House. Again, not Samovar, still fun!

Sunday Brunch at the Buelow House. Again, not Samovar, still fun!

More highlights from Mindful + Entrepreneur (to be continued…)

  • Making declarations and logging progress
  • Experiencing fear and hope
  • A 5 word business plan
  • Whisper marketing and…
  • How to title blog posts.

The Courage to Start Small

Stumbling upon the Presidio Pond

Stumbling upon the Presidio Pond

My obsession with goals and developing new habits is transforming into a new phase. I have been working with Stevo, sports psychologist at San Francisco CrossFit (SFCF),  for several weeks now. Along with other forms of counseling, this is helping me look at my personal struggles to reach certain outcomes. The sessions and goals that we have had are not what I expected, though I wasn’t sure what to expect anyway. I think everyone I talk to about having a sports psychologist says “What’s a sports psychologist? I didn’t even know that existed.” Ditto. But when Stevo showed up at SFCF, I thought “Yes! Of Course! THIS is IT!” and then I thought “No! Shit, that’s what I want to do!” He has the job and the clients that I want.  Or that I think I want. A great “Aha” moment for me, but the initial sports psychology questions are relevant because I am still learning about the training psychologists receive and what someone like Stevo does on a day-to-day basis. 

What is a sports psychologist? In my experience, it is someone who studies traditional psychology and then specializes in habit building and introduces a mind-body connection. This is what it looks like from the outside to me. The above link describes it a bit more succinctly. It appears to be an incredibly tricky job and working with Stevo has validated my thoughts about why this is so. During a session with a client, how do you tease out important core feelings and emotions, plus talk about overcoming barriers and creating new habits that will improve their performance and life experience? That’s a lot of ground to cover!

Firestarter Sessions Core Feelings Brainstorming

Firestarter Sessions Core Feelings Brainstorming

As I sit here, my mind feels like it is going into explosion mode. This is a feeling that I have been experiencing often lately. Mulling over how a sports psychologist tries to guide you in a particular direction and develop concrete action steps seems like a complex process. I am also experiencing this in Interchange, my counseling training program. I am becoming quite comfortable with the idea that the being is the doing and I know that it can be quite transformative. However, working with my “regular” psychologist, Tonja, and with Stevo, plus watching seasoned Interchange leaders, I know that a great counselor is a trusted guide. Someone who leads us deeper into our dark jungles, lifting tangled vines so that we can progress forward or perhaps just lighting a lantern so that we may find our own way. That’s powerful.

The intersection of beautiful and mysterious.

The intersection of beautiful and mysterious.

So how does it all come together? Stevo asks me how my day is going and then we discuss how the past week has been for me. Have I followed through on my mini goals? Am I being consistent? How did I feel on each day? What was I listening to when I performed my mobility exercises? If I missed a day, why? What were motivating factors for me to mobilize? What made it easier? What made it harder? As it turns out, guilt and accountability are great motivators for me. I am still figuring out how they function and how they manifest in my brain, but those are two themes for me to examine. Everyday I record how I have accomplished my goal, including some minor details about the context. This is the framework within which we dissect the habits that I am building.

Somehow we manage to get through all of the above and move on to larger issues. I have signed up for the CrossFit Open Games and my Level 1 Certification, I am overwhelmed by my hobbies and goal pursuits, I am feeling unfocused and self-conscious. How can I continue to work on these small steps while developing a stronger sense of self and building a career path!? Stevo tells me that if I feel like I am taking on too much, then it IS too much. Well, good, because that’s what I said. “Its too much.” Yet… (cue the Little Mermaid soundtrack) “I want MOOOOORE!” Stevo brings me back to reality with his awesome motto “Have the courage to start small.” Thanks Stevo. [Fist pound.]

Put a bird on it. It will all be OK.

Put a bird on it. It will all be OK.

Tackling the Ocho

Inside the Box.

Inside the Box.

I am realizing why it is so hard for me to post about my 8 goals this November. For several of them, I do not have much to say. I feel that a picture is worth a thousand words and that accomplishing the thing itself was so exhausting that reliving it through writing may be too much for me right now. But since I’ve resolved to blog each goal, I would like to write at least a little something for each. Or at least link/show you what’s up.

Mr. Fix Anything

Mr. Fix Anything gets a letter.

GOALS I ACCOMPLISHED IN NOVEMBER!

    1. I read a book! There is Nothing Wrong with You by Cheri Huber: This book is super simple and therefore enjoyable. It is a bit repetitive, but fun and sweet.
    2. I made mail art! I participated in Snail Mail My Email 2012: I have basically already blogged about this, but it’s one of the goals I am most excited about because so many people made awesome letters! Check out the gallery and the map.

      E&M

      E&M

    3. I took my bod-photos. This is a difficult one for me to post about because I am really self conscious about it. Inspired first and foremost by San Francisco Crossfit when I did the Paleo Challenge, I am trying to eat better and if not actually lose weight, at least pay attention and monitor my body. Other sources of motivation and information are Robb Wolf, Nerd Fitness, and Mark’s Daily Apple.

      San Fancisco Crossfit and the Parking Lot of Dreams

      San Fancisco Crossfit and the Parking Lot of Dreams

    4. I did not smoke for 30 days: this is a hard one for me to write about because it means that I have to admit that I smoke sometimes. Well, I was smoking too much this summer and I said enough is enough! I know I can drop it (like it’s hot), so I did. Here’s some info on building new habits. Or “How to not suck at building new habits.”
    5. I expressed my feelings when it was difficult for me multiple times and recorded it somewhere… I’m no Penelope Trunk so I won’t get into the super personal details of all the times I had challenging conversations over the past month. At least not at this point in time. But to give you an idea, I apologized when I thought it was important for me to do so, I spoke up for myself, and I gave honest feedback.

      Sometimes this is what expressing yourself feels like.

      Sometimes this is what expressing yourself feels like.

    6. I attended the 2nd Interchange weekend. The theme was Storytelling and Reauthoring: Narrative Therapy.
    7. I got new jobs! Three to be exact. I now work at Biergarten, Suppenkuche, and Lululemon. Wowza. Don’t be shy, come by and say “Hallo!”

      Biergarten

      Biergarten

    8. I moved to San Francisco! WOO!

      Good people & beer = coping mechanism. Prost to making things happen!

      Good people + beer = Coping Mechanism. Prost to making things happen!