Don’t identify with the wave and forget you are the Ocean

Tara Brach talks about the concept of we end up identifying with the wave – the emotion, the situation, the thought, and forget that we are the WHOLE ENTIRE OCEAN. The ocean here being our whole, entire, wonderful being.  Does that make sense?

Sometimes we think we are the number on the scale, the size of our jeans, our belly, our thighs, our identity as gym girl, our depression, our bad day but it is just one little part of who we are. The Ocean, while aware of all of its waves, is not concerned with one little wave.  Whatever arises is ok, we are enough to handle it, knowing too that it will also pass.

52bfdad2fefa39d30c545f24be202c3dI have mentioned Tara Brach many times on this blog and on the Zen Barbell facebook page.  She is a meditation teacher and publishes out weekly talks on her podcast.  I have learned so much from her and am deeply grateful that she is so generous with her teaching.

Just When I Think “I have this”…

I realize there is always more to learn.

It never fails when I sit in judgement of someone else, I find myself doing the exact thing I was judging them for within a short time thereafter.

I was judging my husband for having a low energy day and impacting the schedule that I had in my head for the day. The next day? I can hardly summon the energy to do anything or get anything done.

I am judging a friend for not understanding me. Then in a further conversation about it (after I created some drama around it), I realized I was not understanding them either. 

I am judging someone for going too slow or making erratic moves on the street because they clearly don’t know exactly where they are going. Sure enough, I find myself slowing to a crawl while driving as I am looking for the right street to turn on.

It is a lesson I learn constantly. Whenever I feel like I “have it”, I realize there is always more to learn.  🙂


A friend shared this picture with me the other day. It really made me think about the progress I have made with the relationship with my body. It used to be full of hatred, anger, and deep sadness. My first thoughts in the morning were how gross my stomach was.

You know how if you are in chronic pain and then you have a day with out pain, it is a palpable feeling? I get that some times in the relationship now that I have with my body, with myself. I can feel the absence of the hate and despair. It fills me with awe and wonder. 

It was a long path with LOTS of practice and support to get to this place. It had nothing to do with finding the right diet to produce the phsyical body I needed. It had lots to do with believing that I am enough right now in this moment, sorting out my relationship with food and diving in deep with gratitude for everything.

Of course, I still have moments of doubt and wistfulness. The journey is not perfect (life is not perfect, I am not perfect) and there is no there to get to. But the journey is so worth being on. You are worth the fight, the exploration, the discovery, the hard work. <3


My Journey to CrossFit by Lucia Shaw

(Another guest post this week. Today's post is from Lucia Shaw, a strong, motivating, lifting-heavy-things woman I connected with through the Zenbarbell Facebook page. She offered to share her story with here about her reluctant move into CrossFit and how she is feeling about that now. I am thankful for her generosity in sharing her story. )

I started CrossFit in April of 2014. I had just “recovered” from a serious injury to my right hand and nerve repair surgery. I had my last appointment with the surgeon and my hand therapist and they said simply “ok throw away all the splints and go back to normal activities”. I’d been in either a cast or splints for 11 months. I had major proprioception issues with my right hand, limited mobility, still had some nerve pain, oh and my hand was still huge and swollen.

My husband had started CrossFit a few months prior and he’d come home and tell me about these “workouts”.  I’d always say the same thing ” that sounds awful, why do you go?” I thought about going back to kettlebell training but convinced myself I’d be a hazard to others since I couldn’t hold onto the handle of the bell. So I tried aqua bike (it’s ok), pure barre (hated it), I went back to hot yoga (I really like hot yoga). But I missed the intensity of a gritty, weight workout just a little…

Finally, one day he said, just try CrossFit….it’d be good for you. I was getting depressed about my lack of ability to do “normal activities” so I figured ok, I need to try something radical, and well CrossFit sounded radical, and it turns out it is –  in the very best way.

So I went to a first class. They were doing wall balls. I had never seen anything like this before and I was fascinated, freaked out and of course couldn’t really hold onto the ball with my right hand. But I signed up for the onramp. Then I started going to Endurance class….I was out of shape, slower than everyone else. In regular WOD’s I dreaded hearing, ok partner up, share a bar at the rack….who wanted to share a bar with me…we spent most of the transition time taking all the other person’s plates off since I could lift/press/clean so little. I often felt so much anxiety before class I almost didn’t go almost every single time for probably 3 or 4 months. I stopped checking the WOD’s online since I’d rarely go if I read it beforehand….I either didn’t know how to do it or felt I couldn’t do it.

I asked the head coach and owner one day if they even wanted people “like me” at their box. I looked around and saw collegiate athletes, folks training for GORUCK, marathons and more…I wasn’t like any of them. I was looking for permission to quit that day really and I didn’t get it.

Around that same time, I got a message on FB from a coach who told me she saw how hard I worked at the gym, that I was doing GREAT and to hang in there? Ok, so I cried when I got that…it was so nice of her to take the time to message me and I thought wow I am working hard – and I was proud of myself.

I absolutely fell in love with cross fit..not sure when – maybe 6 months in. I love how I feel when I am there, afterwards and always look forward to going again soon. I work out 5-6 times a week now –  I admire so many of the athletes I work out with and really learn a lot from watching them.

So April of 2015 I registered for the Festivus games. I had a great time! I did the Open (scaled) and loved it! I did my first team competition in November of 2015 – a little scary…I was the scaled member on our team but I worked hard and nailed the KB snatches!

I just ran my first Tar Heel 10 Miler (yes 10 miles at one time, in the same day!). So proud of myself and my fellow training partner Laura!

I still struggle, I still have self-doubt. When I hear ‘ok partner up” I try to do so immediately and not worry that the partner is stronger and/or faster than me and figure they won’t want to work out with me. I thought CrossFit would help me overcome my injury but I have gotten so much more than I ever imagined.

I am stronger physically sure but also mentally and emotionally, and I am grateful.

Lucia Competing.
Lucia Competing.

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

I am constantly in awe of the group of people that I have around me that I call friends. I treasure and savor each one. Recently as I have stumbled, been down or not showed up in the ways that I want, I have been reminded of how big their shoulders are, how strong they are, how generous their hearts are and how open their ears are.

In the moments when I don’t feel very good about who I am, I look to the people who surround me and see how amazing they are and the qualities that they have that I love and it keeps me moving forward because I must have some of what they have even if I cannot connect with it in the moment.

My friends make my life better. My friends make me better. Big gratitude every damn day.

Friends make us better
From the book “The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose.” Photo credit Gary Owen

“Time is the new I love you.”

I just heard Brene Brown say “Time is the new I love you.”

I love that. I totally get it. I am so appreciative when I get time with someone. Especially when it is undivided attention. Phone free, focused time. It could be a few minutes or a few hours. It makes me feel loved because I know they are choosing to be here and be with me. It makes me more aware of how I want to show up with others.

How do you feel about time or undivided, focused attention as an expression of love?

Shouting Love

I get exuberant with love sometimes. It spills out of me in ways I can’t always control or perhaps I just don’t want to.  My husband tells me I shout at the cats for love. I am not yelling at them per say, I am just wanting to snuggle with them enthusiastically.  I silent shout “I love you” to my sleeping husband when I leave in the mornings to go to the gym.  I am a big hugger. I get excited about seeing my friends. If I am in a connected flow state, watch out! I will be shouting love. Reminding those in my life that I love them. That they are awesome. That I am grateful that they are in my life.

Honestly, I savor these moments in time where the passion for the people, animals, things, circumstances, events, connection in my life just spill from me.

Do you ever “shout” love to those in your life?

Perfect isn’t the goal

Sometimes I forget. I forget that perfect isn’t the goal. I don’t make perfect food choices. I don’t have perfect workouts. I don’t say the perfect things. I don’t have a perfect body. I don’t have a perfect life.

When I forget that perfect isn’t the goal, I make myself unhappy. I am not very nice to me.

But then I breathe and remember. I bring my best when I can but it’s not perfect. I goof. Sometimes good enough is enough. Sometimes that is excellent. Life is messy and beautifully imperfect. And I love it that way. 

Then I save the word perfect for things like:
– a day laughing and snuggling with my husband. Perfect day. 
– an Americano with the right amount of half and half and exactly the right temperature. Perfect coffee. 
– meeting someone else who is a great hugger and thrilled to be together. Perfect hug. 👩👩
– a workout when my back felt great and I gave all I could. Perfect workout. 🏋🏼
– a conversation with a friend where everything drops away and it is just me and them. Perfect chat. 👭
– being in the moment and awake and alive to all that is going on. Perfect moment. 😊

How does perfect show up for you? Do you allow for yourself not to be perfect but just show up with your best in the moment?

Searching for Clarity

You know how if you are hung over you keep searching for that right thing to eat or the right position on the couch that will make you feel instantly better?

That is how I am feeling today EXCEPT it’s around trying to get clarity on something I am dealing with in my life. I keep feeling that if I think about the right things, if I bring myself to the present moment, if I do the right actions that I will get clarity. Instead I am finding myself on the ups and downs and all around of the mental gymnastics that happen when ever we face something in our life that we are struggle with. 

And much like relief from a hangover, clarity will come when ever it comes. Until then I will just try to be here now.

And maybe I should go have a drink!

What do you all do when seeking clarity on something ?

What do you do when you are looking for clarity?

Who Are Your Supporters?

I am doing a Brene Brown course at the moment and learning lots. In going through some exercises this week, she asks the class to think about the critics and supporters in your arena. The Arena being the area – or areas- in your life where you want to show up and be seen, be brave. Part of that arena is the people who fill the seats – the critics and supporters.

I am embarking on a big change in m life (details coming sometime soon). There are times when I feel so confident and excited about what is coming. Other times I feel terrified and question my abilities to show up in this arena. I haven’t had a lot of critics yet. I don’t know that I have a lot of those in my life in general – except myself. 

But damn, my supporters? My heart can hardly hold the gratitude and amazement for those who are willing to stand next to me in this and many of my journeys. They support me, allow me to be me, and are there  to grab my hand when I fall, help me back up and dust me off. It has been a journey of appreciation this week for the people I have in my life.

Do you have supporters in your life? Do you know who they are? Do you know who you can count on to be by your side for what ever life brings?

It is important to know who these people are for you ahead of time. When you are stuck in the moment of fear, not-enoughness, or have just tried but failed, its hard to think clearly. If you know ahead of time who to turn to it makes it easier to turn to these people for help, a hand or a shoulder.