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Annie Rem MazamaThis is such an amazing life!

Our spirits take to skiing like eagles ride the wind. We find excitement and an amazing recharge of our zestful lives, as we climb hills, then zoom down them. Fully alive, sealed in the moment, oblivious of past or future. Now is just so good!

Annie and Remington and I loved Sun Mountain yesterday, savoring amazing glide and enlivening exertion. The trails were awesome and the company was even better. When rain presented, a world class warming hut appeared. As we finished our refreshments, the rain stopped and we eagerly tackled more of the abundant trails. This is heaven on earth!

A Mazama trail narrative suggested easier terrain and fewer of the hills we love so much. So what might appear? A side trail, out and back, with the tracks of a lone skier before us. In mid-afternoon? Was this our special destiny? My smile continued to widen as we meandered ever higher, pushing our bodies while earning an amazing descent. Wow! I feel like we just got promoted! Can life really just keep getting better and better?

Rem Frank Mazama

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FullSizeRenderFirst on the awesome Mill Creek – Bennington Lake loop last Friday. Glorious sunshine, crisp air, blood rushing, Annie’s healthy glow and mile eight passing much faster than the rest. Yeah! Fully alive! So sweet.

Then on the weights at The Rec on Saturday, alongside Nick, Jaslyn and Annie. Muscles pumping, adrenaline flowing, smiles growing. This is how we live, feeling the strength building, knowing it’ll serve us well in many ways. Like skiing and snowboarding! Embrace the cold!

In Martin Stadium, ass kicking is the new norm. Cougar power is exciting, encouraging and really fun! We too are crimson warriors, like our favored team. We play the next play to the best of our ability. We focus, train hard, eat well and get good rest. It is so pleasing to enjoy the results!

On Sunday Annie and I savored more sunshine during a ten kilometer run around Pullman. The cold wind reinforced our appreciation for modern amenities, like indoor plumbing with hot water!

Today, I have so much to be thankful for: great family,  friends, food, environment, co-workers, and opportunity! Today’s bonus was an eight mile run around east Walla Walla in sweet sunshine. It was a winery tour without stops. After inversions, clear days make my smiles full. Thank God!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

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In 2013 I learned to be more true to myself. I enjoyed my first ever marathons, standup paddling, greater freedom of spirit, more perspective, less fear and increased confidence.
I’m confident that the best plan for me is to reach out, smile, encourage, savor, learn and grow.
Yesterday’s intense leg weight lifting session rolled all of those together. So does work, and so can adventures. Mysteries abound; many are filled with fun! To at least some extent, they are what they are. I can choose to see the fun. More fun!

Invigorators!

Invigorators!

 

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?

"Three times up and down this mountain? Hell yes!"

“Three times up and down this mountain? Hell yes!”

We could have named her Adventure Annie! She’s fearless about challenges. I never know what’s going to happen, but it’s always something interesting!

How about three ascents of Badger Mountain, forty mile per hour gusts, swarming bees and 13.1 miles of rocky terrain? Just another Saturday. Vivid evidence that all miles are not created equal! This jaunt was as tough as last week’s eighteen miles, which had more hills than our previous long runs. We’re getting stronger!

That’s pleasing, in an achy way. We tear ourselves down to build ourselves up. Great material for microcosm man! Will I soon be marathon man? It’s been fun to watch our confidence grow as we take this journey. It’s about so much more than running. It’s pleasing for our bodies and spirits.

I played a lot of high school golf in high wind gusts. Sometimes I was glad to hit part of the ball. Whiffs are a little less embarrassing when you’re blown over by a mid-swing gust, but they’re still hard on your score. Not as damaging as getting blown off a mountain trail while running! Embarrassment passes quickly. Injuries tend to linger. Watch your step!

After our first clockwise ascent and descent, we ran the bottom of the south side, for variety. Then we met the bees! Thousands of them! We escaped with one sting each, swinging wide around their nests. But they filled the air, like the pesky little bugs near Mill Creek at sunset.  Adrenaline powered us on.

There’s something about pushing on through long runs, finding your toughness, running on when it’s just not easy. It’s empowering. Many things that once seemed difficult now seem trivial, easy or simple. The stakes have been raised. Belief grows. Horizons widen. Doors open. Faces glow!

We got our run on! We’re becoming fully alive! How about some fairways, lakes, mountains, oceans and more trails? Why not!

Two thirds of the way there!

Two thirds of the way to 26.2!

Maybe I’ll shoot under par. Perhaps I’ll standup paddle (SUP) on lakes and rivers. I may finish a marathon! I could become awesome at hackysack. Maybe I’ll fall in love again. Watch the Cougars win at football. Mountain bike in heavenly places. Help solve the overwhelming challenges facing healthcare. Live as an example of good health myself. Play with kids to be like them!

I don’t know what’s coming, but I like the possibilities! I believe in them. I trust that good processes increase the likelihood of good outcomes. I’ve done much work to prepare for a marathon. I’m mentally prepared to do the rest. My body has held up well and prospered. Cross training has helped me avoid injuries while preparing me for more fun, such as SUP and golf. It would be silly to become complacent. The better polished my body becomes, the better equipped it is to paddle and swing, among other things!

Spring is so fun! I’d like to hold it in my heart forever. I’m feeding off the energy from positive people and trying to feed them encouragement and inspiration. I see the synergy. I love it! I’m glad that my kids are so much fun!

I try to dance some fine lines.  Finding and following these lines requires balance. Each of us defines moderation, excess and sloth in different ways.  Many of the differences in our definitions stem from how honest we’re able to be with ourselves.

There’s a fine line to physical achievement.  On one side are treacherous injuries and over-exhaustion.  On the other, wasted potential. On the line, or in the zone, we find ourselves feeling stronger, more energized and full of zest for life. Getting in touch with truth begs differentiation between laziness and a true need for rest. Betterment encompasses fatigue, exertion and minor aches and pains. It begs for stretching, fueling, massage, diverse activities and recuperation. That’s just a short journey from over-resting, so awareness is paramount. Our minds must be in touch with where our bodies are now, not where they once were, or where we wish they were. Physical health is built over the long haul, dependent on regular practice of an artful balance of sleep, nutrition, hydration, spiritual re-charging and exercise.

Many of us have worked too much at our jobs! Many of us have also worked too little, or gone to work tired, hung over, distracted or un-motivated. I love the correlation between healthy living and job performance. My brain simply works better when my body gets what it wants. It must like blood flow! Rather than pop pills, I prescribe myself exercise! This is one of the best choices I’ve ever made! I love it when I get more done in less time!

The line between serving others and taking care of myself also requires moderation.  If I feel disconnected, I may be focusing too much on myself. If I feel disgruntled, I may be neglecting myself. To best serve, I must be in the spirit of the servant.

I sense that we have so much more potential. How to get there? Am I on the path? Where does it lead? Am I missing a key part? How can I fuel better? What can I do to rest more effectively? How to recover quicker? How to open my mind more fully? Who can inspire me? Who should I serve? Where can I best serve? What is the best job for me? Where should I travel? How young can I feel? Can I really dance the line? Turn up the music!

TC half shirts

Running fourteen miles yesterday was growth for Annie and I. It was a faith builder. We really didn’t feel like running the last two or three miles, but we did. Those last few miles were a growth frontier, a persistence test. Do we have what it takes to push to the goal? The run sharpened our mental toughness and extended our physical frontier, so that in a couple of weeks, we’ll likely be able to run sixteen miles. Will we feel the same after that run? I don’t know, but I’m guessing so. We’ve done four runs of eleven or more miles in the past month, and they’ve all been tough. Yesterday, it was hard to finish a short cool-down walk. We should have walked farther, but we could not.

Since that was so hard, what makes me think I’ll be able to run twice that far in a couple of months? The people who inspired me! All the people I’ve known who have run marathons before. You made it! You’re tough, mentally and physically. That’s the new me as well. I want to join your club! Without this commitment and the resulting accountability, it would be way too easy to give up. I want to see how it feels to climb this mountain!

It’s a little shocking to me, because I had limited myself to half marathons. Until last month, I hadn’t run one of those for over five years. I thought ten kilometers was far enough. Then I decided to move past self-limiting thoughts. I was cornered. How to escape? RUN!!!

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!

I’m hoping that I’m like a fine wine, in one way only.  Which way?  Getter smoother with age!  Life can turn us into vinegar, or enrich us with perspective, focus, wisdom and appreciation.

Life isn’t fair.  That is, it’s not all justice and equal opportunity.  We are dealt tragedy, heartbreak, illness, disease, pain, injustice, crime and abuse, in varying doses.  No one gets off totally free.  How we handle adversity decides how much we appreciate and optimize our gift of life.

People are irritating, irritable and irate at times.  We’re fun and funny.  Lovable and loving. People can profess deep love for us one day and leave us the next.  They can give us joy and rob us blind.  Reality is a tenuous thing.  What’s real to one person is delusion to another.  Adversity comes like a thief in the night.  The only certainty is uncertainty.  Is that scary?  Or exciting!  It can be either, or both.  Which sounds like more fun?  Which offers better possibilities?

Should we focus on the “wrongs” we’ve suffered?  Or look for the next right things to do?  How do we become the best possible versions of ourselves?  Is this the path to the best possible life?  Is there good nutrition?  Do we embrace regular exercise?  Meditative centering?  A focus on gratitude, fostering happiness?  Should we look for ways to serve other people?  Does it make sense to seek adventure, stimulating our curiosity, creativity and fun?  Should we break from routine?  What is there to be afraid of, beyond the misery of giving up?

Excellence or settling?  Being my best or getting by?  Learning or posturing?  Refining or repeating?  Aha or arghhh?  Does personal growth come down to honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, faith and dedication?  Can I practice gratitude without setting false limits on my potential?  Can I see my liabilities without sacrificing confidence that I am loving, intelligent, funny, devoted, kind, helpful, generous and open-minded?

I’m a bit like a high school senior.  What shall I do with my life?  I say this because my son is a high school senior.  He faces a world of opportunity.  We have different perspectives, based on experience and longevity.  Will my life blossom more fully with a touch of his life view?  What should I do with my time?  It seems more precious now.  Work or play?  New activities?  New places?  New people?  Train harder?  Take chances?  More variety or more specialized focus?  Live more consciously and less reactively?  Shelve assumptions?  Be proactive? 

I tell my kids they can do anything and be anyone they wish in this life, and I believe it fully.  Do I have the same faith in myself?  Who do I want to be, now that I’ve grown up?

Wow!  I think we’ve had around a hundred beautiful days in a row!  I admit to loving sunshine, warmth and bountiful harvests.  It’s been another stimulating round of one of my favorite times of year.

Can I find that all times of year are greatly prized?  What will I do and believe to treasure the dark, gray, damp and cooler days ahead?  At my age, and any age really, it seems silly to waste any of this gift of life.  So, what to do?  Care to help me out here?  My first thoughts:

  1. Writing.
  2. Reading.
  3. Hang out with fun people.
  4. Gym workouts.
  5. Movies.
  6. Nordic skiing.
  7. Alpine skiing.
  8. Head south!  I mean vacation, rather than moving.  Golf, swimming, snorkeling?
  9. Prayer.
  10. Meditation.
  11. Culinary refinement.
  12. Running.
  13. Call old friends/make new friends.
  14. Take dance lessons.
  15. Go to plays.
  16. Shopping.
  17. Snowshoeing.
  18. Photography.
  19. Refine processes at work; build a better budget.
  20. Volunteer.
  21. Go to church.
  22. Clean my house.
  23. Give away extra stuff.
  24. Ab exercises.
  25. Test out the 4Runner in the snow.
  26. Smile at everyone.
  27. Tell people what I like about them.
  28. Model self-restraint.
  29. Exude goodness.
  30. Plan new activities for next spring & summer.

Hmmm.  I guess hibernating is out of the plan again this year.  ( :

An old song just ran through my head and became the title of this post.  Who knows what triggers our recall of memories?  It seems to be a complex thing.

Even when we’re in a good mental state, shaking out of it may be the path to greater enlightenment.  How can we expand our view?  Traveling opens our minds.  Varying activities stimulates excitement.  Talking with new people boosts our creativity.  Emptying our minds and really listening to them can expand our thinking.  Reading provocative works can do likewise. 

How do we let go of our preconceptions, biases and ill-founded beliefs?  We can start by recognizing that there are smarter people out there.  Also, we can admit to ourselves the many mistakes we’ve made.  We can let go of any remorse and hold on to the lessons.  We really do get to choose who we are.  Will we choose well? 

I choose to be strong and healthy, so I’ll commit to regular exercise, healthy eating and proper rest.  I want to have fun, so I’ll make exercise choices  that are fun for me, and I’ll be open to meeting new people, trying new activities and experiencing more of the world.  I want to be kind, so I’ll practice kindness.  I want to have an open mind, so I’ll read new things, travel to new places and take on new challenges.  I want to be a good golfer, so I’ll practice putting, chipping, ball striking and mental focus.  I want to be a productive, uplifting and creative worker.  So I’ll practice optimism, encouragement, experimentation, focus and dedication at work.  I want to be a good father, so I’ll practice helping my kids learn the skills they’ll use to better their lives.

Who do you choose to be?

Yes it’s a word!  I’m learning who and what inspires me, getting to know myself better.  I’m defining my dreams and optimizing my health, striving to be the best possible version of myself.  Endorphins fit nicely into this plan.  They help me feel optimistic, content, grateful, peaceful and successful.  So I feel best when I push myself.  Yesterday, after sleeping in and sipping coffee, I went for a run in the sun.  It was past 10 AM, so it was already quite warm.  I went without expectations of how far I would run.  My right ankle has been a weak link.  Heat makes running hard.  I was pampering myself to celebrate my birthday.  After walking two minutes, I felt the need to start running, before it got even hotter.  I focused on keeping my column straight, leaning the column forward and landing on the middle of my feet.  I hoped these Chi Running tips would help my body hold up.  I also focused on relaxing my ankle muscles, so I wouldn’t be fighting myself.  When I relax well, I can run farther.  I found some big trees that offered shade, so I fit them into my route multiple times, avoiding cooking my brain and sapping my energy.  Then, as I ran, I became mentally tough.  I found determination to make progress.  I remembered past running highs.  I recalled basking in the joy of being fully alive.  I felt the refreshing, almost cool, breeze in the shade.  I kept on plodding, left, right, left, right……

I diverted my attention from the heat, sweat, tiring muscles and sore ankle with mind games.  I strived to balance the benefits of achievement with the risk of lasting injuries.  So I targeted four miles, after feeling good to start.  Then I kept ratcheting my target up, checking in with my ankle, and relaxing it.  I ran for sixty-two minutes, or about 6.5 miles.  When I was done I felt so good!  I felt great!  I knew in my heart that my attitude would be good for the rest of the day.  I knew I’d made progress on my physical and mental health.  I knew that whatever came the rest of the day, my cup would be running over.  I had faith.  My kids chose to spend time with me, so it was a great day.  Today I’ll find ways to have another great day.  Perhaps a long bicycle ride?

Wolf jump on balance beam.

Wolf jump on balance beam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life feels like a stock market:  little ups and downs, big ups and downs, with a general upward trend .  Investors’ emotions change the “value” of companies.  Can other people’s opinions change our value?  Silly me for letting them impact me as much as I have.  Perhaps pleasing others is like a balance beam:  God loves us to serve others, but not fall off our walk of faith,  hope and love.  I think He knows we need to love ourselves first, deeply and with complete conviction.  He made us so beautifully!  Look how we can dance!  Watch how we can serve and love!  The better we know and love ourselves, the better prepared we are to co-exist with, serve, appreciate and inspire others.  We can pray for the wisdom to embrace good ideas, while holding dearly to the timeless spiritual truths we’ve already learned.  LOVE!

Spring is so beautiful; there are so many flowers to admire!  My Bloomsday anticipation is like life in general:  I don’t know what will happen, but it’s likely to be quite an adventure!  Interesting people, high energy, sensory overload and physical challenge should make Sunday exciting.  Challenging ourselves to grow in one area of life often promotes growth in other areas.  So far the Bloomsday challenge has grown my belly with Annie’s “best of my life” pizza!  Yay!  Now she’s pulling fresh bread out of the oven.  This may take carbohydrate loading to an unprecedented level!  Ice cream anyone?

frankoshanko

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

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