I Beat Myself Up for Beating Myself UP

All I can think about lately is how bad I am at this meditation thing. While I’m meditating I’m thinking about how I’m glad I’m doing it, how I get to send my little group a “done!” text, and that hopefully with time I’ll be the meditation guru that I’ve hoped I would become. I try to remember to pay attention to what I’m doing, like Andy says, be present when you stand. When you sit. Remembering to do this twice or even once per day is a huge success! I fail all day at that. I remember only when I sit down the next day to meditate and scream “DAMN IT! I was supposed to do that!” And then I think about how bad I continue to be at this whole ‘mindfulness thing’.

Managing Anxiety is the package I’ve chosen. Andy tells us that we have to learn to re-frame our relationship with anxiety. Instead of letting it define us, learn to work with it. (Damn, Andy sounds a lot like my old therapist…) But instead of saying “I am an anxious person”, say “I am someone that deals with anxiety”. Don’t let it own you, you are not anxiety.

During my meditations I beat myself up, a lot. Then I beat myself up for beating myself up–it’s a terrible vicious circle and it doesn’t really seem to work. But I continue to do it, I continue to try and learn and take these lessons to heart, and I guess by writing about it I want you guys to know that a little bit can and does help.

I’ve started to notice a few things:
-after a long day at work I had plans. Plans that involved a sick kid, decorating a Christmas tree, and whatever else goes along with that. But I NEEDED a minute before going from smiling barista, to smiling girlfriend… So I laid on my couch, boots, jacket, scarf, and hat all still on and I laid there and took like 20 deep breaths. Those few moments were for ME. Well, and for them because without those moments I think I would have snapped, gotten mad, or annoyed.
-often times at my retail job we have less than pleasant customers; I have yet to beat anyone up, yell at them back, or walk out on my shift–I’ll attribute some of that to meditation, some to my amazing ability to hold myself back from stupidity.
-I ran long and hard yesterday… my 4 mile trail run turned into almost 9 miles of bushwhacking and being lost in the woods. I was going to go run, lift, or both this morning–however, my body HURTS. So instead I did some slow moving, deep stretching yoga. That in itself was a meditation.

Anyway, long story short–meditation is never perfect. It’s not stopped me from wanting to drop kick the puppy that lives in the apartment below me…(I haven’t and I WON’T–but the barking, so much barking…) But it is helping in some small, slow ways. And for that alone I’m going to keep it up.

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Here’s a photo before I realized what kind of adventure I was going to end up on… It’s called Top of the World and that is our beautiful Lake Superior there!

Keep Your Lady Balls In Check

My bed has sucked my morning mojo out of me. My OkCupid profile claims that I’m an extreme morning person, I’ve always said I’d rather wake at 5am rather than stay up until the wee hours of the morning. I love enjoying a cup of coffee or tea alone with a book, my journal or my computer. I love the alone time of the early AM and savor every minute I’m up before my roommates are. But since I bought the bed that I wanted, the firm mattress my back craves, the cozy down comforter I stole from my mother’s house when I moved, the pillows that support my neck just right–I have a really hard time getting up. The bed swallows me up and hugs me tight so I am unable to leave when, in the past, I would normally wake.
Things I enjoy doing in the morning: running, reading, writing, researching, cooking, journaling… my basic brain function is best between the hours of 6am and about 2pm. After that I can’t promise my best self, my best attitude, or my best effort to care about anything. So in an effort to be a better human being I’m trying to get up earlier again.
Yesterday the alarm went off at 5:16, yes, a Sunday alarm set for 5:16. By 5:42 I had laced my running shoes, buddled up as much as possible and set off to run five miles before the sun was set to rise at 6:49am. I’m determined to run all winter long and train for a January half-marathon. In college I did, why not now? So Sunday morning was to prove to myself that I still have the lady balls to get out there and log the miles–no matter how far below freezing Chicago gets!
The still morning reminded me how quiet the streets of Thailand were when I began my training there. However the temperature difference, the idea of quiet alone time was still the same. Morning mediation on my feet. Discovering what the city looks like, smells like, feels like, early in the morning is something I’ve done every place I’ve lived and visited. This was a first for me in Chicago–I’ve walked the streets late at night after a night out with friends, exploring new bars, parks and taken bus rides to avoid the cold or heat. But nothing compares to being on foot, alone on streets you’ve walked or rode a bunch of times before the sun peaks above the skyline.
Everything looks different in the morning. Stores are asleep, coffee shops are just blinking an eye to be awake and get the day started–running past them shut down and dark the city looks so different, it looks at peace.
I am at peace when I’m out there. My run yesterday cleared my head for the day to come, set my schedule and tired my legs. At my turn around point there was a bank clock and thermometer that read “6:04am 14 degrees”. Now I KNOW I can run that far, in that cold, that early. Every time I do that I have mixed emotions; now I know I can do it, so that means I can’t wuss out–and now I have to one up myself, I have to go further, earlier and when it’s colder just to prove to myself I can.

This morning I wussed out so I could spend the early moments reading and writing. But tomorrow, tomorrow is a new day and winter is only getting colder.

The Battle

I start to sweat. My normally low blood pressure rises and my heart pounds even when my body is not working that hard. I get anxious and stressed out. Running, swimming and hitting the gym don’t do that.

I have such a love hate relationship with mountain biking. It’s a battle. A battle with Logic. Logic is the cautious side of my brain. The side that generally wins because she’s in control, she calm and cool. Logic fights with Competition, the side that peaks her evil head out rarely, but when she does she makes me uneasy. But that side also tells me to push harder, faster, further and makes me do things out of my comfort zone.

Logic tells me to stay on the easy double track; no rocks, roots or puddles to trip me up and knock me down. Then Competition chimes in and yells for her to shut the eff up, to go for it, to get uncomfortable and challenge not only my body, but my mind—basically my entire body: Mind, Body and Soul are put on edge during a ride.

 

I love and hate this so much. But yet I continue to do it—so it must be good.