Mission accomplished!

This simple 2 word phrase is among my favorite 2 word phrases. A few others are “Thank you”, “Package delivered” and “Let’s eat”. I am an achiever – at times an over achiever – but I’m working on that too.

What was the mission? To run an entire 5k without stopping. Now I totally get that some of you might be marathon runners and you’re chuckling right now. Aw, how cute – a little baby 5k? Only 3.1 miles? Some of you do 5 times that distance at a much faster pace. And good for you if you do!

The point I’m making is that this was MY goal, one that had haunted me for a long time. Ten years ago I had attempted this but always fell short and ended up walking.

But as you may have read previously, I started training in July, and continued with the goal scheduled for early November.

The event was Wanderlust, which is a Mindful Triathlon. I would never consider a real triathlon. Don’t you even know me? This event was right up my alley. It began with a 5k, then 75 minutes of yoga, and finishing with 25 minutes of meditation.

During the one hour drive to the event, I was focusing on the fact that I could – and would – run the whole thing. At check-in, this intention was confirmed so clearly. See, the 5k was not hard core with numbers and microchips and such. It was casual. Each participant received their word for the day to stick onto their clothing instead of pinning a number. Some were affixed with “Peace” and “Joy” and other lovely words.

As I arrived at the front of the check-in line, the word on top was this one.

When the volunteer saw the look of surprise on my face, she asked if I wanted a different word. After a moment of hesitation, I replied, “No, this is the word I am supposed to have.”

With this word plastered on my shirt, I knew for certain I would not be stopping to walk. No way! It had been declared that I was a runner. And I was. I ran the whole entire thing.

The rest of the event was amazing! Practicing yoga outside with 1000 people was an incredible experience. Holding a chair pose after running was another challenge for sure. I found people who shared their face paint, met a cool lady selling bracelets, and enjoyed this view during the meditation.

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The really great part is that I am continuing to run. At least once a week I am getting in 2 to 3 miles and plan to do a few more 5k’s. Of course I’m still practicing yoga, and have even wandered into a studio a couple of times this month. Faithfully engaging in an at home practice for several years, I had forgotten about the energy shared with others in a group practice. The meditation is still a work in progress, but isn’t that the idea?

It really is all about the practice, and the process. But also, there is something transforming about reaching a goal! My good friend Kris was the photographer for the event. I think this photo she took captures the joy I was feeling in doing just that.

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What goal are you working on? How can you state your intentions so that you have the best chance of success? A little goes a long way. Keep after it and you’ll get there my friends!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

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Setting my own pace

giphyRunning isn’t for me. Not on a track or treadmill, at least not in this season. But there is this other kind of running to which I seem to be addicted. Running around like there’s no tomorrow. It seems that I’m not happy unless I have a giant list of things to do. Therefore, I continually have such a list in process.

I love crossing things off of my list. I know that I am a human being, not a human doing. But I feel such a great sense of accomplishment in the doing. In the crossing it off. Sometimes I will do a task that’s not on the list. But then go back and write it in – for the sole satisfaction of crossing it off. It’s sick, I know. It’s okay to fess up if you are in this club with me.

I just finished my Spring semester (a week early) and now I get to breathe.  No projects, no homework, no classes! One would think that I have safely put away my pen and pad, but no. I actually had to use an entire sheet of notebook paper for my personal to-do list. I’ve been putting off a number of things until summer. Continue reading

Goals and marshmallows

Ahh… it’s mid January and I’ve had to restart my resolutions already. Please tell me I’m not alone here.

It’s not the typical “it got too hard and so I just quit” reason that my resolve collapsed. It was a 48 hour stomach bug. Apparently 7up and saltine crackers are not Whole30 compliant. My 30 days of practicing True Yoga with Adriene also went to the wayside, but hey, I rediscovered some ab muscles without her.

Just three days after the plague lifted, my daughter came into town to celebrate her sister’s birthday. It was a lovely and slightly guilt ridden time of eating and drinking as I pleased. Hibachi is a tradition for this birthday child, and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for fried rice with yum yum sauce. But alas, the binge came to a halt with the post-birthday return flight. No more plague, no more birthday, no more excuses. I was ready to reestablish that healthy lifestyle thing.

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And I have! I started over! I’m six days behind on yoga and officially one week into the Whole30 (again). It looks like I’ll be committed until Valentine’s Day when I’m sure to receive some pity candy (ha, that’s not real, but it kind of is. I’ll accept chocolate for any reason. I’m shallow that way).

It was interesting to note my dedication to these New Year’s plans of eating healthy and practicing yoga daily. I’m a big fan of observing and learning from my own behavior. Plus it often provides a good laugh.

I realized that it is super duper hard for me to keep momentum! Especially when it’s already two weeks in and everyone else has flaked out on their resolutions and carrying on life like a normal person. And it’s not pretty. Taco Tuesdays with the work crew? No thanks. Free office bagels on Thursdays? Sorry, can’t.  Also, Happy Hour of any flavor? Nope, not this month. That’s not the worst danged part though. The real tragedy is that I cannot enjoy s’mores around my very own fire pit.

Digression: I can barely stand not impaling a marshmallow when there is a perfectly good fire crackling away. Roasted marshmallows are my absolute favorite things. It’s okay to skip the chocolate and graham crackers if need be. If I were on death row, I would request an entire package of roasted gooey, golden brown marshmallows as my last meal. Finding a picture for this post caused me to tear up a bit. I don’t know what to think of those who purposely set their marshmallows on fire to have them ruined blackened and crusty and burnt. They must be heathens.

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THIS is perfection… Golden brown. Not charred, for the love.

Back to the topic. It’s so hard to muster the energy and grit to move in a direction, then come to a halt or even digress, and then start again. How do we do it?

Just like that. Simply come right back to where you were. We are talking about goals here, not marshmallows. See what I did there?

Momentum, even in it’s smallest increment, helps propel us to our goals. We catch a wave, ride with the wind, begin to pick up steam, all of those lovely metaphors (or similes? I always get them mixed up). Momentum defined is “the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events.”

How do you regain your momentum after a setback? What compels you to start again when your well-intentioned plans have been hijacked?

For me, I return to the “why”. Why were those resolutions and goals and plans in place anyway?

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Daily goal – 100 ounces!

Because I want to be healthy. And I want to be the appropriate weight for my height. And since growing taller is not an option, getting thinner is what I’m left with. Oh, and there’s a milestone birthday happening in just 5 months and I want this body to be at its best. Healthy, and also, since I’m being honest, smoking hot.

Whether the goals are physical, financial, educational, professional, the key is what you do when you’ve totally blown it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in there. No matter how far off track we have veered, it’s never too far to realign and recommit. You can do this! I can too…

And as one of my friends said recently, January is a free trial month! I’ll drink (water) to that…

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone’s got one…

You know what I’m talking about. Opinions – and assholes.

Everybody’s got one. Lately it seems like everyone likes to show theirs off.

There was an article recently about a church in the UK that had a discussion about what kinds of activities to host in their building. And in this discussion, it was proposed that yoga should be banned from their facilities. Their reason? Yoga is a “non-Christian activity”.

People freaked out. It’s been all over the news. The discussion flowed right down into our office after someone heard it on the radio last week. Which, in case you missed it, I work for a church. It’s seldom good when a church is mentioned in the news, am I right?

What is wrong with “those church people”? What are they afraid of? Why are they so narrow minded? Yoga is good exercise. What difference does it make if they say Namaste or Amen when they finish? Who cares if the origins of yoga are found in Hinduism? Weren’t Christmas trees used to celebrate pagan gods and yet we find them in churches each December?

Those are good questions. But they are the wrong questions.

Churches – and the folks that run them – get to decide what kinds of events they want on their own property. This is totally and completely within their right to do so. We don’t get angry with Jewish Synagogues when they opt out of pulled pork dinners. And you may decide against hosting silly string wars for the high school football team in your house. (Or maybe you would be okay with it? I’m sure the team would be thrilled to know this).

But what if the Church and its people – the ones who claim to follow Jesus – considered these questions instead:

What can we do that draws people closer to God?
How can we build relationships with people who don’t come to church here?
How can we leverage our resources to help people in the community feel more connected?
What needs are in our community and how can we help meet those needs?

And then the ultimate question, what would Jesus do?

From what I know of him, Jesus is okay with people doing whatever they can to SHOW LOVE in real and practical ways. Like sharing resources and not judging. Loving your neighbor as yourself. Doing all you can to be in harmony and peace with those around you.
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My guess, to which I am entitled, as you are to yours, is that Jesus is probably okay with a yoga class.

You know what he is not okay with? People getting hostile with each other. People judging each other. People wasting precious time and energy on things over which we have no control.

Some don’t want yoga, which is within their right, and then others condemn them for it. Pot, the kettle is calling for you!

How are we showing love when we criticize others? How are we extending grace when we are judging and condemning those who think differently than we think? Isn’t grace for all of us?

It’s likely that I will not change the stance of the folks in this little church in the UK. And that is okay. Where IS my influence today? Who around me needs grace? Perhaps I can dismiss maddening conversations as soon as they erupt. Perhaps I choose something positive and encouraging to share in my circles, rather than continuing to repeat negativity.

What could this achieve? A few less opinions (and assholes) and a lot more grace.

I’m so glad.

Thanks for reading, until next time!
Sherri

PS. If you are looking for an amazing online yoga instructor who doesn’t care what you believe, is positive, encouraging, wacky and fun, check out my girl Adriene. She leads me each and every morning in my home practice. Namaste and Amen!

 

 

Over committing…

Some people are professionals at their job. You know, like doctors and lawyers and professors. They went to school and wrote papers (really big ones like dissertations) and studied their brains out for years. All the letters behind their names prove this, and they command respect and credibility for achieving this accomplishment.

I think I have enough credits on over-scheduling to earn some sort of degree. There might not be letters that I can add after my name, but there is this:

I am a professional at over committing. I want to do everything all at once. But alas, I am learning that I cannot do everything – all at once – if I want to do any of it well. Continue reading

How is your vrksasana?

As I mentioned in my last post, I love the practice of yoga. I don’t necessarily love the weirdness that can sometimes accompany an instructor. I don’t do chanting and all that. But the stretching and the breathing and developing my strength is perfect for me.

One of the foundations for a good yoga practice is to honor your body. One teacher that I sit under regularly says, “You know yourself – do what works for you.” She also says, “Each day is different – and even each side is different.” How long you can hold a tree pose on the left is not necessarily how long you can hold it on the right.

This whole concept of honoring and accepting and balancing is so beautiful. My tendency is to push myself – and others. To force things to happen the way I think they ought to. Letting things unfold naturally is, quite frankly, annoying. I want to get it done!

Ahhh…but it’s so much better and more peaceful to let things unfold. To not push and not force. To allow God to work things out.

Isn’t that what Jesus taught?

It’s easier to do when I just breathe. Honor the day and where I find myself. If I am tired, it’s ok to get extra rest. If I am lonely, it’s ok to phone a friend and make a plan. If I don’t feel like cleaning, well, I can postpone it but not indefinitely! Some things just need to get done whether you feel like doing them or not.

But I do not need to push myself. I will get where I need to be. I don’t need to push others, because they also will get where they need to be. And how do I even know what that is?

I am so grateful for learning these lessons.

How do you stay balanced? How do you honor your limitations? I’d love to hear….

Thanks for reading, until next time~
Sherri

Happy New Year!

It’s New Year’s Eve. And if you’re like me, you’re scratching your head and saying – how in the heck can it possibly be the end of 2014? I did not believe people when they told me that time goes faster as you get older. They were totally right.

As I approach the end of a very challenging year, I am actually pretty excited about 2015! I love new things. I am a great starter. I begin with the best of intentions – don’t we all? I am not very good at continuing. Or maintaining. It’s just not as exciting somehow. But I want to improve that.

This year I am not going to set out a bunch of resolutions of things that I can start and not finish. Even though I would be good at that. I am taking a different mind set with New Year’s this time.

I am going to build on the good things that are already in place. 

For example, last year I realized I had not been a very good sister or aunt. I live far away from all of my family, so that has been my lame excuse. Actions really do speak louder than words. I was so tired of my good intentions never panning into anything tangible. It’s really stupid for the people I love to not know how I feel about them.

I decided that I would at least know and acknowledge everyone’s birthdays. And I did! Each one received a card and a gift all year, most of them were early or on time even.

So this year, maybe I’ll send a card and/or a gift out of the blue to each of them. And now Kelsey is far away too, so I’m sure I’ll be on a first name basis with the folks at the post office.

Another thing I am going to do this year is practice yoga every day. I have a pretty full schedule for the next few months. So with that, I’ll need to do a lot of stress relief, and I may not make it to a class. But I have been going to yoga classes on and off for years. I know what to do! And I know how much better I feel when this is incorporated into my routine.

The third and final thing I will try to do is to be a little softer, a little gentler and a little kinder to everyone. Including myself. Grace is such a powerful concept and I have certainly had more than my share extended my way. It only seems right that I pass it along.

How are you feeling about the New Year? Got any great goals or resolutions or whatever you want to call them? What does 2015 hold for you? I’d love to know….

Thanks for reading…til next time!
Sherri