The Hardest Thing.

Four to five times a week, I force myself to do the hardest thing.

I push myself out of my comfortable little nest of computer, writing, creating, and communicating, and insert myself firmly into the physical world.

This is not natural for me.

I am a cerebral type. I prefer thoughts and ideas to the physical. I find most material needs — food, sleep, showering, etc. — to be more of a nuisance than a pleasure (okay, except for food. I really like food). If I could be like “IT” in “A Wrinkle In Time,” just a disembodied brain, I think I might be quite happy. Or at least as happy as a disembodied brain could be.

But I’m not. I’m a corporeal person, like it or not. And I have to force myself into that body.

I am not a person of moderate steps. I’m black and white. So I run half-marathons, I walk 60 miles, and I do Bikram yoga.

If you’re not familiar with Bikram, it’s a hatha (breath) based discipline developed by Bikram Choudhury. It includes a series of 26 poses completed in 90 minutes, and (here’s the hard part), it is done in a studio heated to 105 degrees.

Yes, 105 degrees.

That is hot.

And I love it.

I sweat something like four pounds of water weight. I leave feeling absolutely wrung out, stretched to the limits of my capabilities. Because the same 26 postures are done in every class, anywhere in the world, it is predictable and I can track my progress.

And yoga is all about progress. Not the achievement, but the act of achieving. Not the end goal, but the process of becoming.

Not natural for me, but oh so important to learn.

So Bikram challenges me mentally, spiritually (be here now!), emotionally, and physically. And even though I know how good it is for me I have to make myself go. After all, 90 minutes of intense effort is no easy feat, either in terms of actual performance or in terms of finding time in my already-packed schedule.

But I’m not here for the easy path.

I’m here to do the hardest thing. And then to do it again and again and again.

What’s your hardest thing?


Image used with permission of OpeningMinds/Flickr

Posted by LEadmin
August 17, 2012

Going Home Again.

I’ve spent the last few days at the house I grew up in. Sleeping in my parents’ bed. Swimming in the pool I swam in many decades ago. Hanging out with my family (original and by marriage). And it gives me a lot of time to think about and observe patterns.

Patterns in the way I relate to my dad, my sister, myself.

Patterns in the way I move through the day, both in terms of physical space and emotional space.

Patterns in my own children and how I interact with them.

Patterns in the ebb and flow of life (cliche alert: It goes fast!).

Some are good, some are not so good. Some memories are good, some are not so good.

I remember how my mom retreated to her office to work, work, work and see how I do the same now, never realizing I was repeating something I’d learned from birth.

I remember how I always felt frustrated at what I saw as preferential treatment for my brother — and I realize I still feel that way (maybe it’s time to give that up?).

I remember how abandoned and scared I felt when my parents were constantly bickering and fighting, sometimes waking my sister and me up in the middle of the night to “choose sides.” I remember how I vowed I’d never do that with my husband, and I realize how proud I am now that I was able to break that cycle.

It’s been good. Hard at times, but good. Some things change, some things don’t. But there’s always a choice.

Posted by LEadmin
August 16, 2012

What I’m Reading: Week of 8/12

Here’s what I’m reading this week, on the road edition:

Pride and Prejudice ($12.46 on Amazon)

On the recommendation of Kelli Crowe. When someone you love as much as I love Kelli loves a book as much as she loves Pride and Prejudice, at a certain point you just give in. I absolutely adored this book and had to ask myself why I avoided it for so long. The answer, I know, is PRIDE and PREJUDICE! I pride myself on not following crowds and trends blindly, and there is such a huge love affair between women of a certain age and Jane Austen that I had to back off. And then the whole prejudice thing: I don’t like historical novels, I don’t like women’s fiction, I don’t like romances, blah blah blah.

Thank goodness, like Eliza Bennet, I am able to admit when I am wrong. And I was very, very wrong.

The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe ($1.99 via Kindle at Amazon)

Once I accustomed my ear to turn-of-the-century English, I felt an uncontrollable urge to continue, and for some reason I went with Poe. I’m not actually reading all of, it, but picking and choosing old favorites and new, including “The Purloined Letter” (delightfully deductive), “The Fall of the House of Usher” (unbelievably descriptive writing), and “The Black Cat” (wonderfully creepy).

┬áTrust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holliday ($15.09 on Amazon)

I don’t read Tucker Max, nor do I have a desire to follow his lead to “manipulate” anyone. But I’m eager to read how people like Holiday do what they do. Haven’t started this yet, but I’m thinking that anyone in the online biz owes it to themselves to give this a read.

Posted by LEadmin
August 12, 2012