OMG! did we have a week (or three)?!!
-with the commencement of baseball, tee-ball, softball, and overflow from soccer (4 kids 6 teams?! ) not to mention team parties at our house each weekend – and that means clean up, dogs, birds, lizards, and meals in between AND I’m no longer drinking red bulls and not to mention a business to run and staff to deal with and patients texting me and and and –
Look guys, I’m cool with it all. All the chaos. The broken eggs on my counter, the piles of toys, dog poop to clean up, family, friends, work…I’m good.
Really. Just like anyone – I can feel it. There’s stress trying to rear up. But in the big picture – the stress has become much more fleeting and small-time Bush League Stress.
I’ve significantly turned the volume down on my frantic meter. It’s not hard to do, but does take some practice and effort.
My last year or so I’ve become better but it really significantly started during the last 8 weeks on a deal called the Whole Life Challenge (WLC)
My gym, Contender Crossfit coaxed me into signing up for an 8-week challenge, a competition – with points being awarded for different categories.
If you know me, I’m fully into competing and being awarded points for Workouts – I’m doing that anyway…really cool with that. I needed to tighten my Nutrition anyway and Mobility (please guys, the term flexibility is soooo 1999) always helps a body. I could breeze through Water intake but I was a little nervous about strange terms like “Lifestyle” and “Reflection” both of which were tallied as an all or nothing daily score.
What the heck is daily reflection? Journal taking? c’mon..
and Lifestyle? – haircuts, cars, and clothes? not my style.
It turns out these 2 categories would change my life and are continuing to change my life for an incredible upstroke.
I spoke with my mom and dad last night, both of whom excelled at the WLC.
My mom’s goal was weight loss (as were most competitors) – she killed it. She continues to lose weight and eat better to the point of boundless energy keeping her awake at night. Her metabolism woke up from the cocoon of complacency and she’s a new woman. She talks about weight loss, healthy eating, the fitness aspect every time I speak with her.
My dad, a little different. His weight loss was nothing less than astonishing at over 25 lbs in 8 weeks! My mom talks about him, more than herself! He’s a new version of himself and is on his way out of chronic pain that has been slowly choking his movement and therefore his ability to have MORE FUN. But that’s not what got him fired up. Frankly, I don’t think he cares much about that, it’s more of an after-effect. He loved the challenge, the experiment, the competition that forever was such an integral part of his life as an athlete and coach that it is grafted into his DNA. And it was dormant. Well, It’s back. and that must feel really good.
For me however, it wasn’t the weight loss (I lost 19 lbs), the fitness level (doing Escape for Alcatraz tri soon), the energy (messing with fatty acid for fuel experiments) but these vague and strange terms of Lifestyle and Reflection made and impression and pushed me to be a better part of the planet Earth.
To get the points, a competitor needs to reflect on their day at the WLC social media site with a minimum of 25 words. ie…”Today was good, food boring, workout tough, 5 water etc,” that’s the minimum.
Fine for the site but I wanted to make a difference – I dove into the WLC the same way I’d jump into a swimming pool in the winter (also started during the WLC) – I wanted the SHOCK!
My (absolute minimum) reflection was more on the Tim Ferris morning routine he speaks of in his book,” Tools of Titans”
-(this book is on my “must reads” btw)
Every Morning Tim suggests, (part of my daily routine now):
list three things You are grateful for…
- an acquaintance or relationship (I love digging up someone from my past)
- an opportunity we’ll have today (oftentimes my kids sport)
- something small (I watch bee’s pollinate a fruit flower a lot)
Three things that would make today AWESOME.
they don’t actually HAVE to happen, but if they did it sure would be awesome…
such as “If my wife kissed me unexpectedly
If I found $20 I didn’t knpow about
If my clinci saw 30 clients and they all loved it!
and Three “I am…” positive one or two word answers (ie I am strong, fast and content)
–Ok, honestly it didn’t do much for me the first day or two – but then it hits, floods more like – maybe its the “3 things to make the day awesome” all hit and it really was awesome, maybe its the 10 sec. of watching a bee work makes you appreciate life, not sure why or how it all clicks but I know I felt it. Like a cog slipping into gear.
It makes you aware. For me I’m busy, but so are you. regardless of 4 kids or 1 or your cats needing to be let outside for a poop at 3 am, regardless of deadlines or freelance, and regardless of eustress or distress – we all feel it.
So dial it in. Enjoy where you are at even if just for that 10 sec. Things like “Oh my God I have a deadline in 2 days” seem to mentally rewrite themselves into, “I’m so grateful I have a good job.” “My kid struck out again” turns to, “I’m blessed my kid is fit and having fun with friends” This kind of Matrix, aha moment, “I see the world differently” stuff really happens.
The hot buzzword now is Mindfulness, I think of it as “manly meditation.” a definite part of true “ohm” Buddha style meditation but on a budget.
This seconds-long Mindfulness is the window opening up all kinds of new life things for me. It has made me get incredibly into cold water immersion, (look up Wim Hoff) which got me into breathing techniques and holding my breath and for whatever reason has made it more fun for me to be alive. I catch myself becoming aware I’m happy. And truly… I needed more of that! Red Bull? Yeah, I like it but this feeling, this perception of satisfaction, doesn’t come from a caffeine/sugar buzz -but from the soul!
Now the REFLECTION part of it comes down to this- write it down or bring it up in your prayers or just truly take a mind minute to be aware. as a muse – try this “What were three great things that happened today?” after a few days, I’ll find myself going out of my way to create things to make me happy.
LIFESTYLE, the other weird tangent came down to this. To get points: do something you’ve been putting off that would be a benefit for you, your family, your business, your life, your house or whatever. It’s the “To Do” list that seems to get so bogged up nothing gets done due to overwhelment. (- yes, I often make up words)
I finally took a day off to write a couple blog articles. This is a big step for me. One that will give me a lot of fulfillment and decrease my overloaded brain. But it took scheduling a day out of my clinic…A big step that costs me money. It needed to be done, no doubt, but it comes with a tangible price tag.
But the fulfillment also can come from hanging up a towel rack. (It seriously sat in my closet for months. ) Washing the car, ordering something for my clinic, planting a flower, painting with my kids- this takes minutes, sometimes seconds, and your brain and body feel it. You get to check a box off in the mental “to-do” list and that’s satisfying.
I would argue your brain/soul feels it the same as a big project as it’s usually next to zero effort!
A LIFESTYLE POINT! My God, it just sounds right.
This takes us full circle to why busy ≠ stressed anymore. Busy yes, enjoyable.. Yes!
Why just this weekend, I saw my oldest blowing huge gum bubbles while at the same time paying next to no attention to the baseball game he was in. This would usually bother me, but I found myself enjoying it- If it wasn’t my kid and I saw this HALLMARK greeting card pic of a kid with a head-size bubble being blown while a grounder trickled by, I’d love it. Well, on this day, I did love it.
I saw one tiny kindergarten softball girl trying to run into a ghastly wind, so strong she basically ran in place ala’ the wicked witch and the tornado of the Wizard of Oz. This is fun, chicken soup for soul type of entertainment.
During all this, my youngest tell some kid on third why his team was the best… “RED SOX!!!, Hey..(pointing to his shirt) Red Sox!”
You can’t plan this fun up!
My eye wrinkles are earned as my laughter level is high.
It’s the self-awareness of these moments that have changed me the most. This type of Mindfulness if you will, takes just moments a day to practice and a lifetime to enjoy. The discipline to write down (reflect) these things, that are so important to me at the time but are forgotten if I don’t (see Tim Ferris “Jar of Awesomeness.”)
We call our family “Team Chaos” and the name allows me to go with the flow, be in the moment and just relax. Practice awareness of your time.
Time, like money, has a set value. It can be fleeting and gone. But unlike money, we can’t save or bank time, making it THE MOST important thing we own.
Take your time back by knowing your timetable.