Tag Archives: learning

Sister perspectives: what rest does.

I’ve rustled up my sis Jess from her blog retirement for this post and I am so glad she wanted to write this with me  as it is a topic that is near to our hearts but also one we both wrestle with more often than we probably care to admit.

Rest.  We talk about doing it, we do it sometimes, but do we *really* do it fully and believe in why we are doing it? Not always.

As we have both been hit with illness the past couple of weeks, we noticed some major realizations and observations and we share that here, openly, honestly, and fully.

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My perspective:

I believe in rest, and in rest days. I completely do. But I also wrestle with rest days when I feel good, strong, and interested in being active on said rest day. Sometimes I bend that rest day a little, as a result, and almost entirely because I absolutely adore my workouts – my chosen workouts – barre (n9ne) classes and running, primarily, and there are days where it is truly hard to temper that excitement and passion. And I’m not talking miles and miles and miles and doubled up classes (taken). I’m talking a quick (extra) run or a Sunday afternoon class (a rare treat, especially if my sister is teaching!). And Jess and I are really good at tempering each other’s workouts and being that reality check for each other – do you want to run, or do you feel like you have to run. If the latter, don’t even bother. Do you hurt everywhere? Fail. No workout. Nope, don’t even attempt it.  But that doesn’t mean the mental mind games don’t stay behind, even if I’ve agreed to keep that rest day and honor it fully. *That* is what I wrestle with most, far more than stillness.

But illness is a funny thing, isn’t it? Suddenly, you are flat on your back, can barely keep you eyes open, and everything hurts in a hurts so bad way and all you can fathom is recovery and feeling normal again. Nowhere near workout ready.

And as those days pass, where you rest, rest, rest, sleep, sleep, and more sleep, a funny thing happens. You realize what rest does. It renews you, mind, body and soul. It resets you. And it reinvigorates you. And when you come out on the other side of illness, you appreciate your body’s abilities and you learn that it shouldn’t be taken for granted and you shouldn’t do more, more, more, even if your body feels good, because that’s harder and not smarter.

Let’s face it, for example, one really strong run, no matter what distance, pays off far more than a few ‘meh’ runs where you feel like your body doesn’t want to move because your legs are tight, sore, or overworked. One – it’s not nearly as enjoyable as that ‘happy’ and strong run, and two – you aren’t doing yourself any favors in your strength or endurance. What are you accomplishing? Checking a box. That’s it. I’d much rather have one really strong run than three crappy runs. Quality, not quantity.

This is what rest does, and what rest has taught me (especially as I sit here teetering on a cold brewing, but determined not to succumb so soon after the FLU last week!). It is about honoring the rest day, honoring your body’s abilities by resting, renewing and restoring. As I like to say, one day, you won’t turn into a pumpkin. Quite possibly, the reverse. Your body becomes more efficient, more able to recover and well, happier. And who doesn’t want that?!

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Jess’s perspective:

So I’ve been a non-blogger now for almost a year and this is one of the first times that I found myself itching to write. You see, I was down for the count with this funky laryngitis thing that had me sidelined for a week. From everything. The day job – done from my home. In solitude. My beloved barre classes? I had to sub them out. Pained me. My ‘me’ workouts. Gone. I had a lot of time to think. And question.

…how could I possibly be sick after two weeks off from work *and* a quick surprise getaway to Healdsburg (aka ‘my mecca’) with my husband over the holidays? I was uber relaxed. Not worn out in the slightest.

…why was I sick? Besides the obvious – duh I picked up some icky germs somewhere along the way – but truly why. Why now?

And the more I sat and thought about it, sipping on cup after cup of tea with honey (swapping in the occasional hot toddy thanks to a certain Tony, aka Sarena’s husband!) – it struck me.

I hadn’t been valuing rest as much as I proclaimed to value it. My sis and I had this pact at the end of the year, it went something like this:

Stop embracing go-go-go-how-much-can-I-fit-into-my-day mentality and return to the smarter, not harder mentality. A mentality that, admittedly, neither of us had been embracing as much as we’d care to admit. 

Yet, as soon as I got back from wine country, I was ready to go balls to the wall again. Um hi, where did that pact go that we so smartly made right before the new year???

Yup, out the window.

And bam – laryngitis swooped in. Down.for.the.count.

My, my, God has *quite* the sense of humor, I do believe.

As the days went by, and the rest, rest, rest, mentality settled in, I started to really SEE, for the first time, the true value of rest. Every second I spent cuddled under a blanket, not running around doing a million things, not working out or teaching or any of that, not doing much of anything…except for rest…and it amazed me to see my body respond.

I actually wasn’t feeling nearly as sick as I sounded (or didn’t sound, haha), and I think that’s because I rested. My body was working hard to avoid a full-blown case of bronchitis or something far worse and I allowed the rest to seep in.

And I sat there laughing at myself after awhile. Thinking about all those mornings where I sat in a funk, mad at my rest day, not wanting to take the rest, feeling like a superhero and wanting to do it all, be it all. Silly, short-sighted thoughts to say the least.

So now, I sit here recovered and rested and ready to REALLY do what I say and say what I mean.

Embrace rest.

Seems simple. But clearly, I wasn’t really doing that before, nor was I even admitting that to myself. So I was taught (well WE were taught (how ironic that we both got sick nearly at the same exact time…) a very important lesson this past week, whether I (we) wanted that lesson or not, a certain Someone wanted to show me (us) the way.

I can’t relax.

I know, I know, it’s not really a newsflash or anything.

But today, during a much needed massage (I rarely get them and when I do, I instantly wonder why I don’t more often!), I realized I cannot relax. I tense my shoulders, I close my eyes but they aren’t really that relaxed, sleepy shut, they are shut but still somewhat tense, and while I eventually relax, it’s usually near the end of the massage that I really feel like I’ve ‘succumbed’ to the massage and my body feels limp and serene.

I use that as an example, a very real one, at that, and my seeming inability to loosen up (literally and figuratively!) and let go. It is *that* ingrained in me, to be go, go, go, that really relaxing, without something on my mind, a list, a reminder to do something, clutter I want to clear off the table etc. It’s always something.

I do it with my workouts. (that is changing though, as I’ve written about here most recently and a top priority for me to revamp my mindset and stick with my ‘smarter, not harder!’ mindset and actually believe it when I do it, not do it and then harp on it for hours after, silly self guilt!).

I do it with M. Yep, I do. And I hate it. Sometimes I just want to let go more around him, let him take the lead, release more. In every way (ahem). To melt into his hugs always, and not for just a moment. Whenever I catch myself rushing through THAT, I literally want to slap myself. Who does that?

I do it with work. This has gotten better, but it still happens. I have this PR agency mentality (everything must be done…YESTERDAY. every deadline, everything, faster, faster, do it, do it) that I still haven’t shaken after three years *not* working at an agency, and I catch myself rushing through editing something, or writing something, or replying to an email. I need to relax in this way too. Take more time to think about a response. No knee jerk reaction. No let’s see how fast I can get this done and impress my boss…but at what cost? Quality? Stress? Self-imposed deadlines are my nemesis.

I need to relax. I need to keep this high on my list for 2014, the year of intention. It just must be done. Who doesn’t relax during a massage?! I mean, come on!! ;-)

363fa4362f345a1973ce9deb7efcb613Boy, was that an a-ha moment today, that unfurled a slew of other ways I don’t ‘relax’ in my life. and it’s food for thought for me as we head into the first official work week of the year. Game face on…

On compromise and allowing for imperfection

In my quest to continue my journey to letting go and giving way to better balance, I have started to notice some signs that I may just be coming around.

By way of compromise.

I am the queen of anti-compromise. I am all for *other* people compromising, but when it comes to compromise myself, I fully admit I am kinda bad at it. (my sister Jess is likely nodding her head right now…stop nodding so hard, I know, I know!)

Some of these signs of compromise are smaller, some of them are bigger, but they are all signs that maybe, just maybe I am capable of compromise and letting go of the need for perfection and my ‘particular (aka type A like whoa…) ways.

For example…

My numbers fixation. I used to stress about how many workouts I did – my ‘me’ workouts compared to those I teach. Now? I have gotten into a good cadence of balancing those ‘me’ workouts with how many classes I teach in a week. If I teach more, I pare back, if I teach less or equivelant to my ‘norm,’ I go by feel. If I feel good, I’ll try and hit that fourth run of the week, if I am tired,  I may not. Or maybe I’ll – gasp – cut a run short. Something I NEVER would have done a year ago. I’d think about that number too much. Now I have not a clue how far I run usually, unless I know the route already (and I never usually look at the mileage on the treadmill, but go by length of time, if anything). To me, this is  huge progress. Smarter, not harder, ‘phase two’ – my evolving workouts just work for me, I have never felt better, I feel fit, I feel worked, but I don’t feel exhausted, *too* sore (in a bad way, just a good hurts-so-good way) or running on fumes. I feel like I’ve hit the balance I need, and the ‘happy place’ in my mind too. It’s not a constant battle anymore. Compromise does a body good.

Another way? I have eased up – somewhat – on my neat freak attitude. Just a little (‘cmon, this takes time, people, this is a deep seated one!). I actually – gasp – LEFT a dish in the sink overnight soaking and didn’t feel the urge to wash it. As a matter of fact, I completely forgot about it, because I was too engrossed in watching ‘Sideways’ with M (though that movie is somewhat depressing, all of the wine humor and scenery gets me every time), with a cup of tea, curled up on the couch. *That* is much more important than a dirty dish, no? Compromise makes for a less stressy mind, and home.

I’ve also tried to slow down – continually – in my quest to enjoy more each day, and stop stealing my own joy, rushing through the mundane or day to day moments, and tried to enjoy every day, not just weekends, not just when I am with M, or my sisters, or my friends. This one also takes work and concerted effort, but I think the more I focus on it, the more aware and in tune with the ‘in-between’ moments as Jeff Goins would say, I will be. Compromise – choosing battles and calming down – has made me happier day to day.

So, I guess you could say I am feeling pretty peaceful right now, I am allowing for compromise, and imperfection, and simply, just changing my way of thinking just a little, and it’s going a long way.

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A day of silver linings.

Yesterday was full of silver linings and I would be remiss if I did not share them…in an effort to steer away from stealing my own joy, here is my attempt at capturing that joy *back* and seeing the big things disguised in the little things.

Silver linings…

…when you last minute have to go to NYC for all of oh, 12 hours, airport-to-airport, and a chance meeting with a ‘blend’ comes to fruition.

getting a chance to FINALLY meet Christine yesterday was amazing. I was so touched that she pretty much MADE our meeting happen, on short notice, and battling through quite the cold day to see me at the hotel I was at in midtown NYC.  In talking about life, her yoga training (yay!), barre n9ne, the holidays, work, and everything in between, it was just what I needed to get through a trying trip.

…when all else fails at getting you to get past the fact that this trip on principle was the stupidest idea ever, you actually have a better than expected trip to NYC.

and an EARLIER flight! That never happens! I was able to finagle my way on to a flight FOUR hours before my intended flight, getting me home basically at the time my other flight would have taken off.

…as much as you don’t want to admit that going on this trip might be a saving grace in the employment department, in a time where the future is uncertain, putting the effort in was – begrudgingly – worth it.

This meeting with the CEO was important, I just didn’t want to go, on sheer principle that it was for less than an HOUR. But it went well, it gave me a chance to talk to him more 1:1 and there are far worse – and farther – places I could have been sent. A 45 min flight is not the end of the world.

…and finally, when you get home, and there is a smiling face greeting you at the door, as M came home early that day, unexpectedly, dinner made, errands run (for me!).

It was all I needed and all I wanted after saying goodbye to him that morning at 5:30 am. That, and my head hitting the pillow at 8:45 pm. Yup, I went to bed *that* early and felt like a million bucks this morning, giddily off to teach my 6 am class that I so badly missed the morning prior ;-)

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Sometimes, an exercise in silver linings is all it takes to turn a situation around, turn a negative into a positive, and bottom line, shake the negative out of your brain and realize that really, life is not so bad, now is it? One long a$$ day to NYC will be long forgotten by the weekend, and in the name of experience and life opportunities, it was worth doing. And let’s be honest, I have a job, that is a huge silver lining in itself, now isn’t it? I am feeling sheepishly grateful today, and glad to put my negativity over yesterday behind me.

Your turn…think about a situation recently and how you turned it around, I bet you’ll find some silver linings that made it all worthwhile.

 

Stealing my own joy.

Lately, I’ve struggled with the little things. The nitpicks. The stuff I can’t control. The stuff I wish I could control. The things that are simply out of my control.  And the stuff that I just need to find a way to separate myself from emotionally.

Do you ever find yourself in that boat? Letting things affect you and your mood that are either simply out of your control or, more bluntly, none of your business, in a sense, yet they still nag and nag and nag at you until poof,  joy is stolen. By you.

I’ve realized I’ve stolen my own joy lately for no other reason than letting the little things get to me.

In my ongoing journey of living ‘perfectly imperfect’ – this is one area that I just must fix. It seems to rear its ugly head when life is just chugging along, all good. Life is good, work is good, b9 is good, runs/workouts are good…it’s alllll good. And it’s like I subconsciously semi self-sabotage myself to find something to bother me. But why? What’s the sense in that?

Maybe it goes back to that feeling I’ve always had, deep down. That guilt over reaching a triumphant point in my life, a life that I built from scratch less than 5 years ago, getting through divorce, and all the financial, emotional, and yes, even physical struggles that come with it, to finding the true love of my life less than two years after my divorce, and marrying him two years later. The guilt over being happy when there are so many around me that are not, that are struggling to find their path, their love of their lives, their ‘calling’ if you will.

I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. I’ve earned this. I’ve worked for this. And yes, I deserve it too. I need to shed the guilt. And also shed the habit of finding things to be unhappy about. Finding them. Why? What is the sense in that? Honestly. Sometimes I shake my head at myself and want to slap myself.

I’ve been digging deeper, reading a lot of scripture, daily devotionals (especially the one I cherish from this beautiful soul!) and vent sessions with my sisters and with M. About my incessant need to let things bug me that honestly really should not. And it’s really helping. Sometimes I just need to process the root cause of things…the why behind the joy stealing.

And in writing this all out, it’s giving me the accountability I need to cut the shit. Get over the little stuff.  And when I saw this on instagram, it all came together. No more joy stealing. Leave it alone. Instead, focus on what makes me smile. And my friends, that is what I shall do.

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