Why are you plateauing? Even though you are tryinkeep tryingto work harder
The first thing you feel when you wake up is a gripping feeling in your mind when you are reminded by our alarm of all the things you need to do today. This gripping is physical in thest, the pelvis the face muscles.
Common wisdom says drink some water, do some exercise, meditate, read books. What if you are doing these things trying to feel better but you do not feel they are working or even not feeling much of anything at all besides this grip of trying to get through the day without any fires still burning. As Peter Sage says “Anxiety is the emotional manifestation of growth.” Sage takes his own spin on Tony Robbins’ quip that suffering or contentement is in relation to how much uncertainty you can be comfortable with.
Zen Mind Beginners mind reminds me that if you are doing something to get a benefit out of it, like going on a bike ride to fulfill your ego, or focused on a future benefit, or showing up to try to beat other people, you are unable to do all these things because you are not in the moment of riding the bike. Likewise for breathing meditation, if we are focused on the breath as a means to feel better, we will not because we are not content just to feel and be as we are.
This past week I sought out ways to shake up my status quo physically and mentally. Instead of saying no to opportunities I invested in instruction in crossfit, tai chi, running, cycling fit, and even professional counseling.
Overall I like to think that I already work hard enough and I know enough to keep going on my own path training myself. There is a place for having this private practice that is self directed. Growth cannot come if you are always paying someone to lead you through a difficult situation.
But if you are already doing your best everyday and you come up against a wall, use the amazing skills of others to reset the deck and give a new perspective.
Here is what I learned this week:
Sunday: Cyclocross race in Mt. Hood where I learned how to fall down and get back up again on a sand course
Monday: Tai Chi at Portland Shaolin Center where Jay taught me how to extend while also dropping the weight
Tuesday was Cross Fit where I learned basic explosive motions such as clean and jerk, press jerk, and overhead press. I also met with Michael Sylvester at Bicycle Fit Services where he teaches yoga as a method to help people form a relationship with the experience of their body and how to carry this internal experience to the bicycle.
Wednesday was me teaching yoga at Bridgetown at 6:30AM and learning how to help someone modify a down dog with wrist pain.I had a counseling session with Marc Otto who teaches people how to play! Can you imagine that in the modern day we are so busy trying to fit in and be liked that we forget how to play in our own way?! And then a cross race at Alpenrose after a long day of work, I learned how to push through fatigue and line up and the start line and ride into form despite initialy sluggishness
Thursday I biked over the cross fit where I was tested by my coach on everyjoint from ankle to shoulder and core function in many postures. And tonight is the Nike Run where I will be paced through a run on the river.
Friday is Rock climbing,
Saturday Cross fit and bike race
Sunday is yoga and bike race
Just in terms of which movements I am doing, this is a lot more diverse that I am accustomed to. I usually bike and do my own yoga or training. This is now a new routine! My new dogma is different and diverse movements. When we find a good teacher we should learn whatever we can from them. Instead of walling ourselves off as cyclists, dancers, yogis, weight lifters, we should seek out knowledge from different disciplines, come to new skills from our own background to be set free from our habits and remember that beginners mindset.
What is the whole point of putting time, energy, and resources after these physical pursuits if it does not teach us something about how to live? If we approach each thing as an opportunity to express and learn from the experience rather than trying to live longer, be more attractive, or impress others we will do none of it and the experience will not inform the rest of our day.
I love learning my limitations. It feels physically and emotionally like breathing new life into an area of the body that has been locked up. Like when I learned how to do a front rack position my wrist, elbow and shoulder stacking with the bar, I feel all the joints opening in a new way. Kind a painful but also warm and energizing.
What people are around you that you could have as teachers? What are your current comfort zones that you could get instruction in that could shed light on what you are doing that might be leaving you stale? What completely new directions could you go that would be like learning to read or learning to use the toilet again?
The extreme of this is being a junkie for novelty or always relying on others to challenge you rather that owning the challenge yourself. You may feel like you are drowning in other people’s perspective if reflection and your own expression is not brought into these new experiences.
I am writing this out of my current position as someone who considers themselves a hard worker but has difficulty following through. I feel that traveling, meeting new people, going on adventures is helpful in getting a view on how great this world is that we can help eachother learn to express our own uniqueness. We can read books, watch speeches, participate in workshops, connect in person or on the internet. Each of us can create a think tank of people to help us unlock congestion in our minds and bodies and be in a community and offer our own unique skills and our own word on THE TRUTH.
Get 1 friend, have them meet you at one new yoga, rock climbing, crossfit etc you name it and then go have a coffee afterwords and see how you feel and what new things it opens you up to.