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Pat loves fine desert living!

Pat loves fine desert living!

Today is a transition, sandwiching golfing utopia and high-level football. Stanford travels to Washington State University in a battle for PAC-12 north supremacy. Pat and I savored swimming and stretching in warm water and weather at his home before cruising to Sky Harbor today. The Nevada mountains below me are topped with snow as the sun shines brilliantly. It’s been a dreamy week. Lyn and Pat are such great hosts. A victory tomorrow would taste like dessert. We’ve enjoyed a resurgence of kick-ass football. Pullman boasts one of the most exciting teams in the country, with remarkable players. Rain and wind are expected to return, granting the Cougars a chance to redeem their season-opening slop-drop against Portland State.

With the looming time change, lunches on the golf range sound appropriate. I hope for rounds at Veteran’s Memorial, Canyon Lakes and perhaps Palouse Ridge/Wildhorse/Othello on the near horizon. Autumn golf in the north will beg patience and restraint. How low can I go?

I’m wondering if my exposure to warm desert golf will be a life-changing event for me. To follow masterful links with a soothing swim is a great way to live. Would it be awesome for a month or more?

I hit golf balls from small mountains and soon I will ski across bigger ones. I believe that core work, strength training and high energy cardio-vascular adventures like hiking, spinning, squatting, running and climbing offer me avenues to greater achievement, firing my body and soul. How many mountains will I summit this winter? How fully will I savor the fruits of life as I dance to the passage of time?

I sense a need to mix it up, see the world and greet new adventures with a fiery passion, recognizing the fleeting nature of life. Work has enriched me and play has treated me even better. My spirit soars and dances and blossoms in wild community. These are the greatest treats. Want to play with me soon?

Lyn and Pat live the good life, including amazing golf at Tonto Verde Peaks course.

Lyn and Pat live the good life, including amazing golf at Tonto Verde Peaks course.

Lyn’s net 69 mastered the inaugural Desert Classic at Tonto Verde’s Peaks course, which was lovely in almost every way. Lyn won match play over both Pat and I.

Desert golf is brothers' bonding is an amazing way!

Desert golf is brothers’ bonding in an amazing way!

The greens were slow, the translation suggested foolish greens, which looked like they’d be incredible when fast. The views were magnificent.

Who believes they can take me in a long drive contest?

Who believes they can take me in a long drive contest?

We hit some beautiful shots and occasionally found the desert. Lyn was the straightest hitter and most consistent putter (29). Pat and I matched 89’s to ramp up suspense.

Lyn is the champion...of the day!

Lyn is the champion…of the day!

In the week-long competition, Pat beat me 35-28 in head-to-head skins and I nipped him 3 days to 2 in match play. Pat made three beautiful birdies, including a hole-out from the sand that was exciting and rare for it’s range.

Desert master Pat crafts a recovery shot.

Desert master Pat crafts a recovery shot.

I hit a high, long eight iron to eight feet past and stroked it home for birdie on hole 6 (78/90).

Should I shorten my backswing?

Should I shorten my backswing?

We enjoyed this lovely slice of Rio Verde and the awe-inspiring drive, showcasing the Four Peaks and surrounding mountains. The views were magnificent, the company so loving and golf as I’ve never seen it before. Wow! I am a desert golf lover!

Bring on the long drive contest!

Bring on the long drive contest!

Lyn strokes it pure!

Lyn strokes it pure!

Pat grooves his swing.

Pat grooves his swing.

Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

The full moon seemed to smile at me as the sun set, like an inspirational shift change. Despite the bug plastered windshield, it stirred sweet adventure memories and radiated wellness. What a fitting culmination to a full weekend! I tasted the riches of family, friends, travel, physical challenge, coffee, shopping, dining and peaceful rest. All is well!

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

It was pretty tough for a while. Bloomsday is a little like a plunge into an icy lake. Many people view it as a spring-time tradition. We see who we are. I was confronted with my past selves and I wished I could stride like some of them. And I think maybe I can. Or not. The mysteries will be revealed and created!

Adventure partners forever!

Adventure partners forever!

People are so interesting. We offer much and sometimes deliver little. Our potential is incredible. Our limiting beliefs dance with our willingness to try to be truly open-minded, fighting for the precious ground of our souls. We rarely know when we’re missing out, choosing to think that our opinions and beliefs are sacred, accurate truths. How silly we can be!

I may have done one thing right, or not. Bloomsday officials have a new ploy called “time up Doomsday.”  They measure how long it takes to ascend the brutal hill between 4.3 and 5 miles into the 7.46 mile race. It may be a good idea for some people to buy into this chase. For me, walking the entire steep part yesterday may have saved my life. I was red-lining, after zooming past hundreds of people on the steep downhill before Doomsday. I’ve learned that I’m very good on downhill portions, and I simply love to run fast. The mob hindered me during an early downhill section, but it thinned a bit and the course widened by the middle of the race. So I hauled ass! Then I accepted my need to walk. No, I would not post one of my faster race times. But I would still do the best I could on this day, and live to race again. Hundreds of people passed me on the hill. Many of them faded badly after the hill, and I passed them back. My ego loved the times when I passed guys who appeared to be about my age. Yay! I passed another old guy! How silly I can be!

I cannot adequately describe to you how good water, coffee and food taste after long runs. It must be experienced first-hand. It is amazing!

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general:

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general: “Let’s do it!”

I hate to run and then I love to run. It is so hard to go running. It is deeply rewarding to keep running. I love the high I get when I reach autopilot. It’s a zone where I can just keep running. All is well. No fears, burdens or anxieties. Great blood flow to all of my body, including my brain. Breathe in, breathe out. Absorb the sights, the sounds, the fresh air, the exhilarating power of trained muscles.  Ahhhhhhhh. This is good!

My ego wants to beat somebody. But just getting out is what’s truly important. Moving is rejuvenating, enlightening, inspiring and invigorating. It makes me better. I am so grateful I can still do it. What a rich blessing!

I found new trails on my run on Sunday and my walk on Monday. Adventure is good for my soul. It helps my mind open up a little. Maybe I’ll be more receptive to new ways of thinking. Won’t that be good?

After my run on Tuesday I showered quickly to rejoin the retreat team for dinner. On the walk there, it felt like all I had to do was lift my legs and they would automatically spring forward. It was kind of freaky after my autopilot thoughts. My muscles have listened and obeyed.  They just want to run! My refreshed attitude and energy boost were bonuses.

I think I’ll plan a trip somewhere new, play some new golf courses, try new activities, and meet some new people. Yes! Maybe I’ll even take a run…

WSU Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude, 2014, Annie the Adventurer!

WSU Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude, 2014, Annie the Adventurer!

Often, we get what we deserve. How we live paints the canvas of our lives. Persistence pays off. Going for what we want usually gets us there. Persistence, dedication, patience, perseverance and faith foster success. It’s cool to see people live this way. It’s nice to see my offspring do so! Annie’s college journey has delivered her to the job she wants. Her graduation culminates a transition between childhood and adult life. Her dreams include adventure, motherhood and providing health care to others. She is one fun lady!

Looks like she made it!

Looks like she made it!

Perhaps coincidentally, the sweet kitten Annie picked out over twelve years ago took her last breaths recently. Tali gave us a lot of love. She will be missed. She stayed when others left. Perhaps her last mission was teaching me that when everyone else leaves, God remains.  What more could we need?

 

Wild things!

Wild things!

Tali is always home!

Tali is always home!

I see great things when I look through centered eyes. I see misery when I look through the fog of discontent. Details of conditions are mostly irrelevant. My mission is clarified: live a centered life. Be a ray of hope, a wave of optimism, a laugh in the night, a smile in the rain and a hand when it’s needed. Embrace spiritual connectedness. I hope you dance!

It felt too hard! Man, what a recurring theme! It’s a timeless feeling of deja vu; I’ve been here before, many times, over many years. There are easier, softer options: slow down a little, slow down a lot, walk, quit, devise excuses…

Excuses can arise from an early morning bed: a rainy day? Perhaps I’m meant to rest this morning? Or is that fear rearing its ugly head?

Today I hit an excuse jackpot. My right calf cramped less than two miles into the race. Good or bad? Just breathe in and out, sending relaxing thoughts to my muscles. Hmmm… was this a chance to run from the run? It’s not always easy living in my mind. So stay out of it if you can!

Using a watch to forecast results is easy for me. It can also be quite limiting. My GPS watch does much of what I used to do, creating opportunity for other thoughts. These can be devilish or inspirational.

Mile one passed in 7:30. Judgement commenced. Too fast! I did it again! I will only slow down from here! So mile two took 8:08. See how much I slowed down! Feel how winded I am! It’s all downhill from here!

A self-fulfilling prophecy? Mile three elapsed in 8:26. I’ll be crawling by the end! I’m out of shape from not running all week! I’ve gotten lazy. Shit!

Whoa! Finally, my free-wild-optimist fought back. I’m nearly half done and averaging 8:01 per mile. Not bad for my condition! I should do my best and see what happens.

Part of the beauty and challenge of the Balloonsday 10 kilometer course is the loneliness, especially coming on the heels of a mega-crowd road race like Bloomsday. Most Balloonsday participants choose five kilometers. The scarcity of ten kilometer racers leads to some big gaps. Mine was a lonely path today, creating a wonderful opportunity to choose between easy lagging and difficult pushing. Who am I to be today?

Lonely mile four took 8:15. Was I choosing to be all that I could be? Perhaps my fifty minute goal is too tough today. I should have trained harder! Why do I think I can push on race day without more fast-paced training? Still, I must push and do what I can!

The volunteers were so encouraging! The course was extremely well-marked. This is my favorite race of the year! But mile five took 8:16. I think I’m slowing down too much. I’ll miss my goal. I’m doomed! More waiting? Will I just keep on saying “wait ’til next year”? Wait a minute! It’s the negative thoughts that are holding me back! I can almost always push at least a bit harder. Do it now! Run free and wild! Be the spirited stallion! Go for it!

Hey, it’s true! I do have a little more to give. When I do so, I gain capacity to give a little more next time. My life gets better when my heart, mind and soul embrace faith and venture forth, fully alive!

Mile six took 7:48. I picked up the pace! Bring it home! I strode strongly to the finish, clocking 49:29. It was my best time in years and another step towards better health. Physically, mentally and spiritually, I must face the demons I meet with faith, perseverance and lots of smiles. It fills my journey with pleasure, which sometimes masquerades as pain. Namaste!

What if I know of real solutions for affordable health care, but nobody listens? What if I know of a simple cure for some types of depression, but no one hears me? Stress reduction? Better health? Peace of mind? Contentment? Freedom?

Maybe we all have to figure them out on our own, in our own time. It’s cool that the answers are real and widely available! They’re almost free, yet priceless. I hope you agree, in the most real sense of all, via actions. Live well!

Yesteryear, but you get the idea!

Who’s high on life?

Should I visit the Alps? Or other mountains? Before the lure of the desert seizes my spirit with warm weather fun?

My golf vacation was so fun! Pat and Lyn were so gracious, as always. Phoenix weather in January is roughly PERFECT for golf. They say April is even better, but I can’t see how. Perhaps the grass will be even greener and the air a bit warmer. Hmmm…… I’ve felt more ready for transitioning to warm weather winters. Age really seems to increase my appreciation of warmth, and aversion to cold. It seems progressive. But maybe not so fast…..

Over the past weekend, my Blue House Cafe transformed into a ski chalet! Nordic adventures of the past thirty years flashed vividly back. I entered a timeless zone, where the glide is everything. It’s a breathing meditation at a higher level. I understand more deeply why the Olympics now offer “skiathons.” Because they’re the winter equivalent of marathons! The evolution of the term is obvious, but the fun is in the feeling. I skied for hours on Saturday, excited to return to better health. Then the Olympians inspired me on Sunday. It just got better and better! When I’ve run marathons, the powerful endurance was awesome. But each passing mile typically got harder. With cross-country skiing, my glide improves the more I practice. It feels so good; I get addicted. So on Sunday, I played a mental game of calculating how much farther I could ski before turning back. When would the sun really set? Will I get enough afterglow? Hey, I just need to make it back to the streetlights by heavy darkness. Yippee! Press on! How fun!

So my aversion to cold, grey, and wet winter days was broken. I relived the glory of winter! I moved further towards appreciating the moments of my life, whatever and wherever they are. Work has been tough, but I’ve handled it better. I’m moving in the direction I want: be the best I can be, live proactively and enjoy the moments. It’s sweet!

Golf is no four letter word. It’s often called “Arghhhhhhhhh!” Or “dammmmnnnnnn!” Or other unpleasantries. Except when you hit one just right. Then it’s “ahhhhhhhhh.” Maybe “yessssssssss!” I’ll be back soon. That just feels too good. I want more. Like a sweet romance, it tantalizes, lures and hooks us. It will never be mastered, but I think I’ll try. As the sun smiles on my skin and the breeze cools my brow, I visualize a towering shot, rising high in the sky, threatening the target. Mastery of a moment, if only a single shot, suggests mind-pleasing possibilities. I’m the man. I can do this. I can excel at mankind’s most challenging game. If I find the sweet spot in my spirit, I’m opened to finding the sweet spot on the club head. One opens the door to the other, analogous to so much of life. So swing away. You’ll see just where you are. The truth is delightful. It points to exactly what to do next. We simply need to open the eyes of our minds. Namaste.

Smiles create smiles!

Smiles create smiles!

Once again, I choose happiness! My mind is still blown by the reality that it’s simply been a choice all along. No luck, no waiting for it to come. Just choose it now. Now! “Later” is just more talk. I love that many people keep reminding me of this free choice, because sometimes I forget, and happiness is way more fun!

Sure it takes practice. A pattern of negativity, whining and pouting doesn’t morph into refreshingly optimistic gratitude in an instant. Good things come to those who persevere!

I can’t deny that there are always beautiful, impressive, awe-inspiring things, thoughts, people, places and events wherever I am. The stark reality is that whether I appreciate and richly experience them is limited or enabled by my mind. My attitude, my openness, my closed-mindedness, my willingness and my awareness levels are key. Living fully is an option for all of us.

It’s not their fault or credit that you’re the way you are. Whatever, whomever and whenever. They can define you. Or not.

It’s a great opportunity!

What a bunch of blessings!

 

Who? Who? Who? Who?

Songs get stuck in my head. This three-letter question is key to me. It can open doors I really want opened. I simply need to figure out where they lead!

Proactive living is considerably different from reactive living. Making this change involves diving inside, deeper and deeper. When I find ugly, scary, lazy or arrogant, I can work to replace them with beauty, faith, dedication and openness. Because everyone wins!

I can expand my mind, if I’m honest and willing. I can learn, experience and believe. I believe that I can become more compassionate, wise, adventurous, dedicated, considerate, athletic and fun. More and more of the same thinking, activities and stubbornness aren’t likely to get it done. Surrender, faith and willingness to try new ways of thinking and experience new places and people and activities can really help.

I want better. I mean, my life is great! It’s gotten better each year. But I want better! Why not?

Yes!

Yes!

When the above is at least somewhat true, I experience spiritual freedom. To whatever depth I get this deep in my soul, I am freed. No longer in a stranglehold of ego, fear, greed, lust, jealousy, anger or disappointment, I can be present to the presents of the present. That’s a very “good” thing! Ha!

Judging “good” or “bad” can really waste my time. I don’t get much time (there I go, judging again), so does it make sense to spend it in dismay, disrupting my spirit and having “bad” days?

What if some powerful people at work made decisions that cost the company many millions of dollars? Spouse/partner wants out? Loved ones die? Kids or friends or associates do “crazy” things I don’t approve of? Government can’t figure out how to run a country effectively? Team lost a big game? Or most of their games? Outraced, outscored, overshadowed or put down? This list could go on forever. The simple truth is that life has a lot of twists and turns, if we’re lucky enough to live on. The longer we live, the wilder it gets! Perhaps that’s because we think we know more. We learn a bit. We make judgement calls. “That’s good. That’s bad. They’re dumb. I’m smart.”

Perhaps everything just “is.” When I observe others, their judgements can be a bit entertaining and enlightening, because seeing them helps me see me. When I can admit that I’m like them, I can lessen my judging. I can move towards acceptance. I can savor the pleasures that are always available, even during the seemingly toughest times. It’s a matter of perspective, focus, attention, honesty and willingness. Logically, it’s a no-brainer. In application, it’s a constant challenge. My wish for you is enlightened freedom!

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Undeniably, much of life is far beyond our control. Yet it seems prudent to consciously develop who we are, instead of living reactively. Maybe we should work backwards? What would be cool on a headstone?

Adventurous, Believing, Calm, Daring, Enthusiastic, Funny, Game, Honorable, Innovative, Jovial, Kind, Loving, Motivating, Natural, Optimistic, Parental, Quenchable, Ready, Studious, Trustworthy, Uniting, Valiant, Wild, Xyzlacatotic, Youthful and Zesty!

Loving It Fully Everyday!

Oops!

Oops!

Curiosity took me on a new trail today; adventure beckoned! More excitement! But then there were punctures. Dozens of them! Oops. Maybe I should have been wary of tack weed. I pulled them all out, listening to the air ooze out of my tires. The goop worked. Yay! I lost half of my air. Thank God I’d put in extra pressure last time. I still had air in my tires! Ride on! I didn’t know how much air I’d lost until I got to my pump/pressure gauge.  I just knew I still had air! That’s better than some other times.

It's dangerous out here!

It’s dangerous out here!

Something told me to stay on “clean” roads for a while. That sounds a little funny, because I have two very dirty pairs of shoes from this weekend’s activities. It was fun to race up and down the hilly gravel roads. Then my rear tire looked a little too flat. I realized I’d better get home to the pump. Maybe I shouldn’t have raced 30 mph down the road to get there, since the tubeless tires can pop off the rim when the pressure gets too low.  It sure was fun! I filled the tires with air and headed back out for lots of pedaling.

Getting dirty!

Getting dirty!

It feels good to work my muscles. It also prepares me for a full life. I’m a lucky man!

Fresh air, fun and exercise! How good can it get?

Fresh air, fun and exercise! How good can it get?

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat.  How sweet it was!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. How sweet it was!

Nick made me eggs and hash browns, one of my very favorite breakfasts today. It was awesome! Annie’s celebrating Zach’s birthday with open-water swimming and hanging with Zach’s family. How cool! Like any weekend, I had about 400% more ideas than I have time to fit in. But it’s all good! I’m watching some U.S. Open golf, remembering wonderful games played with my Dad in years gone by. We had some great competition, and memorable times. Now I’m enjoying hackysack, bicycling, running, standup paddling, weight-lifting, skiing and swimming with my kids, among other things. The activity is much less important than the chance to spend fun times together. I’m one happy father! I love you kids!

My Dad taught us much about family, honesty, commitment, nutrition, willingness, priorities, love, kindness, adventure, gratitude and fun. I love you Dad!

My life is sometimes a bit scary!  See what I mean? That’s me between Annie’s legs.

Jurassic Park 4 - it's a good thing she's nice. Maybe she'll carry me and my board back to the car.  But then crush it.....

Jurassic Park 4 – it’s a good thing she’s nice. Maybe she’ll carry me and my board back to the car. But then crush it…..

We tried the Go Pro Hero 3 surf mount today.  We also tried paddling while kneeling, sit-down paddling, lying down paddling and crossing over logs.  We saw two beavers, various large birds and a whitetail doe, very close by. We played in windy rough water, refining our skills, interspersed with calm water. It was more fun than ever!

Nick and Jaslyn

Nick and Jaslyn

My son Nicholas is graduating from high school this week. What a wonderful time to reflect on what has been. It’s a great opportunity to consider what might be. Ultimately, it’s still most important to simply be!

Nick is better prepared for life in some ways than I was at his age. He is less ready in other ways. I have complete faith that he can handle whatever his life brings. I am excited about the paths he chooses to follow.

How will our lives become richer through this time of transition? I trust that Nick and I will learn much as he ventures out of the nest. Will he return to share the joy and knowledge he encounters? I hope so. Ultimately, my greatest hope is that he uses these gifts: faith, friendliness, fortitude, adaptability, appreciation, curiosity, hunger and desire.

I wish the same for you and I.

Some days it feels like spiritual truths land on my soul. Today, I feel that I’m the sum of my choices. That seems like justice to a bean-counter, encouragement for one who has made some good choices lately.

Today I’m feeling fine, like a drive in the sun wearing musical goose bumps. I feel strength in my muscles and peace in my heart. My soul awaits adventure, in its dance of delight, curious and aroused.

I have so much to be grateful for. I am savoring the moments.  🙂

My sweet summertime ride - 2012 Kona Hei Hei 29 Deluxe.

My sweet summertime ride – 2012 Kona Hei Hei 29 Deluxe.

I hope I feel something like that on marathon Sunday!

I left work before six, fed Nick and hopped on my quick fix machine. On it, I can get high in almost no time at all. It never fails me. It always helps me feel like a kid again. I like that!

It’s nice when it’s so warm that exercise time doubles as sun-tanning. I love soaking up glorious rays of energy while my heart pumps, my legs spin and my mind and body engage in following the single track. Two women on horses appeared as happy as me. Rabbits darted, deer pranced and bugs swarmed. The more I pedaled, the stronger my legs felt. The sun finally gave up on me after ninety-two minutes, but I was fed. I had my buzz on. I can face work with a bigger smile, after eating joyously and sleeping like a baby. All is well! Some days you’ve got it, and some days you don’t. Today I believe I could have raced up Doomsday Hill. Perhaps we’ll meet again. I hope so!

Summer in early May?  Fun!

Summer in early May? Fun!

Yay! Yippee! Hooray! Woohoo!

What’s up with you? I mean, what SUP with you?

Today I took my maiden voyage on my 2013 Tahoe Rubicon 12′ standup paddle board. It was a blast! I paddled all around Bennington Lake and its inlet, as far as I could go, until fallen trees blocked the way. I was blessed with smooth water and glorious sunshine. The shade felt great too. I even suspect that standing in my Vibram Five Finger shoes served as therapy for my foot problem. Now I’ve had two evenings in a row that were so much fun, I almost didn’t notice that I got exercise!

I saw two herons and later jumped two ducks, as I paddled up the inlet. I even outran a fishing boat! I guess I should admit that they were trolling though.

As I launched, a man asked “are those fun?” I told him I didn’t know yet. But now I do! YES! They are great fun! I had apprehension about how it might go, heavily overshadowed by excitement, as I prepared to leave work. Sandy, a native of Hawaii, suggested that surfboards are tippy, and asked whether I’d ever been on them, or skateboards, or snowboards. Nope. Like that should stop me? Heck no! No risk, no reward!

So I shoved off into a kneeling position, laid the paddle perpendicular to the board, stood where my knees were, adjusted the paddle, and off I went! It felt a little tippy at first, as I got my sea legs. After an hour of circling the lake, I loaded the board and headed home, still dry, other than sweat. I’m glad I started on calm water with a stable board. I’m grateful for such a pleasant experience. The Naish Makano Vario RDS paddle worked beautifully; it has awesome ergonomics! My Nathan hydration belt offered extremely handy access to drinks. That’s pretty cool for a rookie trying to stay dry!

Dueling Dashers

Dueling Dashers

Bladder challenges, heat training, a spitting egomaniac, sore feet, fit people, kind gestures, gray shirts, cute buns, limping, humbling and mind expansion.  Bloomsday 2013 was fast for Annie and I for the first two miles. The rest was spiritual growth opportunities! It felt brutally hot, exceptionally tiring and even painful. The low energy and pain were surprising, considering our training with good speed, effective recovery and best-yet endurance. Some days you’ve got it and some days you don’t! On the off days, we do what we can. On the days when we suffer pain, we search for reasons, solutions, rehabilitation strategies and relief. Is life tossing you some lemons? Lemonade is good! (but it’ll cost you $3 at the top of Doomsday).

Annie set a personal record for the first two miles, taking it out in 7:50 and 7:50, despite the crowded start. I was right behind her. I focused on keeping her in sight for the first mile, amid the mass of humanity, then reeling her in over the second mile. Then came obstacles: hills and heat.

Maybe karma kicked me after I belittled Doomsday Hill after the Badger Mountain Challenge. Perhaps it just wasn’t our day to go fast. After all, I’m not Ricky Bobby. I know we’ve put in a lot of training. To have my foot become sore on a short run, after faring well on longer runs, is perplexing. It certainly is confirmation that we never know what’s going to happen. How will we respond?

I managed to beat Annie to the finish line, despite a strong urge to pee for the entire race. We chose good starting positions over bathroom breaks at the start of the race; our strategy backfired! Annie was even more hydrated than me! After we got separated, I didn’t know whether she passed me or not. I only knew that for the last 5.5 miles, I had no zip, other than a short dash to the finish. I just couldn’t seem to get enough oxygen. But our 2013 challenge series just got more interesting, as we’re tied at two wins apiece. Where should we race again? What will offer a great climax?

How will we recover from our injuries? Annie has a foot issue that was compounded by new shoes. It appears that plantar fasciitis has returned to me after many years. It seemed to come on fast. I’m wondering about the cause; is it related to calf tightness, increased mileage, mechanical issues, speed work, accidentally running in old shoes or my residual ankle soreness? Should I run the marathon? Should I cross-train only until then? Taping?

Silver linings appear when we are ready to see them. Bicycling! Paddle boarding! It’s time for more passionate fun! No time is right to get discouraged. There’s too little time available! I’ll finish my marathon training on my bicycle, if I need to. I’ll do golf ball stretching, night splints, arch support, naproxen sodium, icing, etc. I’ll do all the seemingly right things, then see what happens. I’ll do my part as the mystery unfolds!

Another cool shirt!

Another cool shirt!

What a day! Yesterday was a really big day for me. I’m not sure what was most important, but growth happened.

We anticipated our twenty-mile run, the pinnacle of our training for next month’s Coeur d’Alene marathon. To fuel up, Annie made green smoothies (Kale for breakfast; move over Popeye!), followed by coffee smoothies (over the top AMAZING!!!) and peanut butter and jelly toast. These accompanied hours of more research and then final selections of toys for our next big thing: standup paddle boarding. I ordered boards, paddles, racks, leashes and personal flotation devices. I’m so excited!

Throughout the day, I learned and re-learned about myself, noting impatience, apprehension, frustration, determination, perseverance and jubilation. When I recognize my motives, they can teach me valuable lessons. It’s even possible to grow from them!  Who knew? Serve, rest, recover, fuel, release, praise, accept, observe, enjoy, admire, bask, encourage and belly up! Food never tastes better than after a long-ass run. I don’t know it there are tougher “walls” yet to come, but we tackled some tough ones yesterday!

Perhaps we needed this mental challenge to round out our preparation. The eighteen-miler seemed almost easy to me; if it wasn’t, my mind has beautifully blocked out the tough parts. The half marathon up and down Badger mountain boosted our confidence further. Yesterday boosted it again, in a new way. We started with little spunk, and our bodies became tired, sore and weakened rather early in the run. Maybe that’s “the wall”? Did something inspire us to add those big hills early on, to help our growth? As we faced trepidation, around halfway done, a cool inspiration re-surfaced: “when your legs get tired, run with your heart.”  Yes! Now we know that even when we start partially tired and weakened by our training, we can still push through a long run.  Strong or weak, high or low, we can get it done!

You never know what you’ll feel like on race day. You never know about any day! But bringing our best, enjoying the process, loving the now, seeing the beauty, slowly blossoming and keeping the faith are paths to growth, joy and peace.  Sometimes they even end with curry! Yay!

John Denver’s “Colorado Rocky Mountain High”:

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high
(Colorado)

A delirium recollection from yesterday:

On that Bennington twenty-mile high…I’ve seen a lot of country passing by…The rush of adrenaline is sweeter than chocolate pie….Bennington High…Walla Walla…

Twenty miles give a LOT of time to talk, think and trip out!  🙂

I hope we’re all looking for ways to have fun. I sure am! Tough stuff comes naturally enough. Being the fun is like taking a run: it boosts me higher! Can I help someone smile? Induce a laugh? Spark a chuckle? I know I’ll try!

The sun is shining gloriously this morning! I knew it would. I needed a bit of patience. I don’t know which days will offer the most pleasant weather. I can’t do anything about that. But the storms in my soul are within my control. Because I’ve been gifted spiritual tools that I can use to help my light shine. Time to put in a new bulb? There’s an endless supply! Let’s flip the switch!

Parasailing Frank

That’s me!  I’m a youngster, because I feel that I am. If I’m lucky, there may be time for being old later. If not, such is life. This youthfulness is really fun!

Stretching. Massaging. Toning. Pushing. Re-fueling. Resting. Meditating. Letting go. Researching. Imagining. Believing. Embracing. Accepting. Observing. Staying the course. Helping. Loving. Feeling. Joining. Solving. Releasing.

Joy! Beauty! Love! Excitement! Passion! Challenge! Desire! Success! Freedom! Blessings!

Kindness. Compassion. Gratitude. Sharing. Being.

Life is new, fresh and full of mind-boggling possibilities! Spring has sprung again, in a place that is dear to me: my soul!

Happy new day!

It’s an exciting time to be alive! We read and hear so many interesting things. I sense that the biggest challenges give rise to the most amazingly inspirational people! Sometimes life seems surreal, or fantastically unbelievable. Feeling love, in its many forms, for people, activities, God, beauty, nature, achievement, adventure, excitement, creativity, music, food, meditation and more, can be awe-inspiring. It leaves me happy, peaceful, satisfied, invigorated, inspired, challenged and amazed, at various times. Perhaps this is the meaning of life: finding, enjoying and sharing these loves. Can there ever be too much of any of them? Perspective pollinates the blossoms of our souls. We get it from each other, when we’re ready, willing and able. Openness is beyond ego, greed, fear and blame. It’s kin to willingness and humility. It’s the best way to go. Thanks for being in the know and inviting me to the show! Let’s show God how grateful we are!

Belief.  Spiritual centering via faith.

Acceptance.  Honesty, letting it be, without spiritual disruption.

Love.  Emotional maturity, embracing the beauty in others.

Adaptation.  Accepting powerlessness, optimizing our power.

Nurturing. Ourselves first, via diet, rest, inspiration.

Commitment.  Intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally.

Exercise.  Today = 70 minutes level 9 intervals = 305 floors.   🙂

It’s never been more clear to me that attitude is everything.

I can always find many things to be grateful for. It is gratitude that carries me to happiness. Making a gratitude list has rescued me from despair, discouragement, loneliness and the like.  It’s medicine for self-pity.

I can always find many things to complain about. I can choose to be disgruntled.  That’s a silly way to live.  We only get so much time. I want to enjoy mine!

I can choose to live in happiness. It should be an easy choice! I haven’t always had this clarity. I’m so grateful to be grateful!

We are offered unlimited life paths, with so many forks in our roads.  Bountiful chances to stray, play, grow and show just who we are.  These choices define exactly who we are.  If we truly accept that we do indeed have all these choices, and believe that we can follow any path we like, we are free in spirit.  When we search our heart and soul to discover who we really are, we can make conscious choices to follow our values.

I had to start with empowerment.  Conscious or not, EVERYTHING we do is a choice.  How powerful!  So I am responsible for who I am.  No one else did it.  They did do everything they did.  I chose, often passively, reactively, irrationally, emotionally, defensively, selfishly and/or irresponsibly, how to respond or act.  These are lessons, whether I learned them or not.  They tend to repeat themselves.

So the troubles I’ve faced resulted from choices I’ve made.  Likewise for the sobriety, growth, peacefulness, acceptance, joy and gratitude.  I know in my heart that when I make the best choices I can, with as much faith, honesty and humility as I can muster, life will go better than if I reverted to making choices based on greed, pride, lust and fear.  The details make the story fun. Every step we take is on the biggest stage of all.  It’s almost always “take one.”  There are few Mulligans, do-overs or re-takes.  It seems like a good idea to be on our best behavior!

Belief.  Faith.  Trust.  Confidence.  How self-limited are we?  Some of us do amazing things.  Are all of us capable of so much more?  What evidence do I have to support any claims?

Well, let’s consider physical achievement.  Obesity is a widespread health problem.  Do some of us feel that physical health is beyond us?  Other people can complete Ironman triathlons.  Were they destined to do so, or did they simply believe in health, practice healthy habits, continue to believe, and dedicate themselves to their chosen course?

Some amazing singers have jumped to the big time stage from shows like American Idol.  One day they’re a normal person with a normal life.  In a very short time, they become big stars.  They believed in their dream and found a way to make it happen.  I’m guessing many performers with even more talent have never become famous.  That’s just fine, if their path is what they wanted.

Many of us have big ideas about how to improve society.  It’s a bit tricky trying to control how others conduct themselves.  But we certainly can have faith in our own ability to live our ideas.  If they’re good, perhaps they’ll be contagious!  If I think the answer to the world’s problems lies in love, then I can practice loving!

There are thousands of impressive rags to riches stories.  Are the ones who succeeded simply the ones who never stopped believing and worked persistently?

I like to do a variety of things in life; perhaps variety really is the spice of life!  Does this lack of specialization prevent me from becoming great?  Perhaps, but should it be used as a rationalization to be less than my best?  Can I write something better than my best so far?  Can I work out just a bit harder, or in new ways?  Can I serve people better?  Can I listen more patiently?  Can I make tastier and healthier meals?  Can I seek out exciting adventures?  Can I do my best in everything I do?   Can I inspire others?  Can I find inspiration from their masterpieces?  Can we work together to do even more amazing things?  Look at what people have done so far!  They’re people like you and me.  Creative, open-minded, resourceful, inspired, dedicated, faithful, persistent, strong and loving people.  That sounds like us!

Emotions can be like a roller coaster.  What if someone asks “how are you doing?”  Do you give them an automatic answer, or an honest assessment?  If you’re honest, do you give an emotional answer?  Or use a thoughtful awareness of the overall trends in your life, such as focus, open-mindedness, wellness, compassion, integrity and achievement?

I sense that things are going very well in my life.  I’m single, so I don’t enjoy the emotional highs of being in love.  I’m sober, so I don’t have the intense highs of drugs.  My kids are leaving the nest, so my focus is changing.  Yet I sense that I’m wiser, better conditioned, calmer, more centered and more accepting of who I am.  I have nostalgic moments, but I’m not losing myself in them.  I aim to do the next right things, striving to be the best possible version of myself.  I have faith that whatever else happens will thereby be good.

I went to a Christmas party this evening.  It was fun to enjoy the camaraderie, good-natured kidding, great food and friendly people.  Will my fire burn brightly?  Perhaps it depends on how well I prepare the fuel!

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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