Seize and Release

Seize the moment.  Seize the opportunity.  With unwavering focus and determination and quiet, slow, consistency, wear down the resistance.   Wear down the obstacles that stand in your path.  Even when that obstacle is yourself, chip away at it.   One small bite at a time, consume and process.  Find a way; over, under, around.. through.. go directly through it.

You will be battered, you will be criticized, you will be laughed at, you will be snared by the emotional weakness and insecurities of others, you will be told of your duties, your responsibilities, your failure to be considerate or kind to others.  They won’t all be wrong either, but for all that, you must continue to move forward.   Deal with it.

Release your judgements.  Release your fear.  Do not hold on to them but let them go and let them be.  Loosen the tight-fisted grab at control.  Stop demanding the outcome, but keep working for it anyway.  Let go of expectations and practice the humility and tenacity of dealing with whatever happens, acknowledging and crushing whatever resistence manifests itself in your journey.  Recognize your excellent excuses as mere excuses and quit holding on to the things that are holding you back.

Jump free into the void.

Live.

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Who are you?

“Who are you?” and “Who do you think you are?!”.

If I were to ask you to listen to your inner-dialogue for a second, if you’re anything at all like me, you’ll start noticing a constant torrent of negative self-impressions, cutting criticisms, and vile put-downs.   If I were to ask you to pick out anything positive about yourself in that cacophony – what’s this!? – we pause sagely and furrow our brows as our minds begin shining a light in the darkness in search of something good.   In the end though, most of us prevail and hold up that shining thing about ourselves whose tolerance passes as self-love in contrast to all the rest.  Some of us are lucky enough to hug our unique characteristics and features.. even our foibles and short-comings.  They belong to us and we to them – and we love them for it!

What about asking for a positive response to the other question?  “Who do you think you are?”.   I’m not used to hearing this question in any other way than as a sneer – it’s strange.   But there it is.  Like the playground bully poking his finger into your chest – “Who do YOU think you are!?”, ignoring everything else, bring a come-back that’s going to put you back in the drivers seat

The Pill

None of us are supposed to wish such things.  We aren’t supposed to wish for a short-cut to get us to our goals whether that be running and fitness or business and finance, or whatever.   It’s the baked in ‘American-Style’ work ethic, this ‘muscular Christianity’ traced all the way back to the Puritans that says you gotta do it the hard way and when it gets harder, you keep your mouth shut and you endure it – you suffer it, in silence.

That’s not a completely false sentiment, and as such things go, there’s usually a grain of truth in just about anything.   When you want to get into shape or get your life together, there is no pill, there is no hack, there’s no shortcut, no secret – it hurts, it’s unpleasant, it’s a whole bunch of self-inflicted discomfort sometimes, and sometimes it just downright sucks.   No one will give you extra hours to get things done, you’ll have to carve them out – painfully at times – from your current routine.   You make gains by cutting losses.   You look forward and turn your back on the cathartic nostalgia of past failure.

There is no truth or motivation that will flip some switch inside of you.   Waiting for the right time is merely waiting – empty, dead-ended.   No one has any secret knowledge that has made them successful and ambition without hard work won’t get you very far, after all.

But we go on believing the promises and vapid claims of salesmen and prophets because when our whole world is wrapped up in the idea that we ‘aren’t good enough’, ‘that we’re missing the IT‘ (whatever ‘it’ is), and we keep looking outside of ourselves for epiphanies, clever phrases, and earth-shattering deep thoughts, we are prime targets for all sorts of con-men.

There is no secret or, the secret is that there is no secret.   We have to do the work.  We have to sit our butts down and write the letter, read the book, mark our calendars, plan our meals, lift the weights and run the miles.   It will cost us sleep and bed-warmth.  The price will be unsatisfied sugar cravings and nervous fingers with no cigarette.   We will lose friends (but we will make new friends, too).

There are people in the world who can show us the way – because they don’t make excuses and they get the job done.  Some of these, under extreme circumstances that we don’t share; so much more challenging for them so that we are without excuse.

And if, after all this, we find that we have not taken the path we have to take, and we find ourselves where we were and have always been, it is not the oft-peddled reasons we are so dearly fond of; we didn’t have the magic pill.   It is because at some level we excused ourselves of taking one more step, however frail and slow, toward the goals we have set for ourselves.

Missed opportunities.

This morning, my first alarm went off and, after a fifteen minute interval, it went off a second time. I got up, stumbled into the kitchen for some water, and stood in a daze not really thinking about anything at all. After some time had passed, I began gathering things I would need for the workout this morning. Water, headlamp, Garmin, and three Running Shop bags that I stuffed with goodies for my half-marathoners – ‘I hope they show up!’, I sighed to myself.

The program was over. They completed a half-marathon, some of them for the first time, and I wasn’t there at the finish line to bring them in or take pictures, or anything. I wasn’t there because I was off doing my own thing.

Another deep sigh.

The sky is overcast. I can see the dark clouds in the morning darkness. It isn’t too cold but still cold enough that I wear my Nike tights and a lightweight long-sleeve pull-over.

I sit in the warm car , listening to a podcast about “lotteryism” and how the media is silent and thus, complicit in supporting the undemocratic interests of corporations over people when it comes to building stadiums, hosting the Olympics, or building headquarters for behemoths like Amazon. I find it mentally stimulating and eye opening.

The clock in my car finally reads 5:30. It’s time to go. I sigh before opening the door and stepping out into the cold to begin my warmup.

Going without goals.

Oh! You’re going somewhere. Did you know that you’re going somewhere? There is a destination at the end of your current direction. It’s out there, waiting for you, and your chance of getting there is nearly guaranteed if you stay the course. One-hundred percent.

You wake up, you eat, you poop, you do your routine. It’s yours and you know it pretty well by now. Sometimes, you think you’re the victim of your routine; that you have no choice.

It’s like we define ourselves by what we are not and who we are not, living in the default world of our true lives, doing all the useless little things that are left over from the table of our better selves; our dream selves.

Victims.

So we piddle around aimlessly from day to day, waiting for a tomorrow that we were destined for, but never saw coming.

Your actions today will steer the course of your life’s tomorrows. Put your hand on the rudder and steer for something worthwhile.

Either way, you’re going to end up somewhere and that Destination is a choice only you get to make!

Obstacles all around me.

One cannot seriously think about the way that others treat them without considering the constant; themselves.

If a person is constantly being disrespected, perhaps there is something that person is doing which signals to others, ‘this is the way I am to be treated’. It would be almost certainly a subconscious choreography.

I imagine, for myself, that these attitudes I have fostered in others about myself are crafted through positive and negative reinforcement. If someone says something bad about me, like it or not, and injured though I may be, I agree with them on some level. If someone says something nice about me, I immediately summon the host of negatives that can drown almost any positive – covertly behind a polite smile and an inner dialogue of, ‘if you only knew!’

Those tortured inner core beliefs must manifest and others will take them as cues.

It’s really just our stupid way of making it hard for others to cheer us on. No! I want to be someone that others want to succeed, the poster-child of my own success, the hero of my own journey.

I want to remove the obstacles that prevent others from wishing for my success in life, in love, and in happiness.

How can you stop putting these barriers up in your own life?

Bring it!

When I come to our workouts, I want to bring a level of energy and pop!   I want to burst and crackle and roar.   To shock and jolt and shake everyone around me because I’m alive and I’m here to work my ass off!

The alternative would be to show up and wait for something or someone to enliven me. That’s no good – that cannot happen.  I have to be better than that.  Every coach and every leader knows that you have to grab the loose power line with both hands and hang on – trust yourself and let fly the black flag – there will be no prisoners.

Imagine showing up and having to be dragged along, limp and lifeless, yawning and rubbing the sleep out of your eyes.   It’s so easy to think that everyone owes you their gratitude because, ‘at least you showed up at all’.. as if, just by showing up, you’ve already conquered the beast.   You have conquered that beast, and sincere kudos to you – that beast is no joke – but now is not the time to rest.   You woke up!  Now don’t be so quick to capitulate that life would act on you, instead of the other way ’round.

Roar, shake, crackle and burst.   Outdo your coach.  Bare your teeth and growl in real life as you lean into it.  Chuckle and laugh in the severity of your zeal as you show up and BRING IT!