Tuesday, April 28, 2020

We are who we are...

At some elemental level, we always remain who we are, right?

Life changes around us, we change in our response to life, yes, but some core of me remains waiting for me to discover her immutability, her tenacity, this ‘Lisa-ness’ that offers me (and others) what I came into the world with, hopefully what I’ll leave the world with more of. There’s a scary thought for some people I love—MORE Lisaness. But…We humans try to name it, of course—spirit, soul, spark, heart, etc. Angels on pinheads, those names. Each of us has some ‘coreness’ that we share as one or being a part of others. Everyone has this spark or spirit or soul or heart, but is a unique expression of it, seeking unity (or not), spaciousness (or not), a chance to freakin’ return to the gym, (or not, yet)… Well, a funny thing happened to me today which demonstrates how the life around you can change you AND how some parts of you will always remain YOU.

I took over two minutes off my DB Fran time today!

CrossFit Math makes me shake my head, begrudgingly participating AND poking at it all the same. The gift of quantifying, yes; the curse of quantifying, yes.

The difference the times show pokes an awareness in me, which is what I love best. I think I actually remember doing this a month ago. It was week one of Quarantine Lockdown. The #Stayathome had actually begun, on Friday March 14th, getting grocery supplies and preparations set. My birthday was Monday the 16th, first weekday of the lockdown, and while it was a great birthday, it was also not as ideal as what we had had planned. [Ramble down to Cincy for a long hike, some foodie shopping, a nice dinner out at a new restaurant there…we did none of that.] CFD was beginning to move into Zoom possibilities, or maybe we were still FB Live that week…am not sure. But I remember feeling disoriented, sad, fearful, yearning for my CF peeps around me and our bantering rhythms. When I saw Dumbbell Fran, I just felt a bit of dread in my stomach. Okay…we do what we do, but there was such a weightedness about me that had little to do with my physicality or movement. It was energetic. Or lack of energetic.

Contrast that with today. Last night, one of our sarcastic two (3? 5? 10?) goaded me into using an emoji I have never used before, ever.  Yep, flipping the bird. Always sure I have my glasses on specifically to make sure I do NOT by accident use that one. Then I enjoyed the general hilarity in the FB responses. I Zoomed into 8 a.m. circle, logging in almost after Lori did! The question of the circle became ‘Name your most used emoji, first on your list.’ Smiling shyly, mine was the red heart, but I added the ‘geek glasses’ emoji, which was next. Another’s most used one was a swearing unicorn. I didn’t even know unicorns could swear, let alone there being an emoji of one.

We moved into the warm-up, and then the coach insisted on the 3 minute max pushups bit before Dumbbell Fran. My eyebrows went up at that, at first, but it was a sure way to insure it actually happened. I entered in, in trust, because that’s what I do with CFD peeps.

Then into the WKO, with strong encouragement to use the same weights you had used before. I had had the idea of using my heavies—23 lb DB—but by the time we got there, I knew I would use the weight I did before—12 lb DBs. Particularly when I saw RX was 15s? Even the 18s I have (next ones up) felt ‘too much’ amidst the progress of the workout.

So…same weight as before, with some curiosity of what a sprint might feel like today. [I tend to ignore or neglect the ‘sprint’ WKO’s, the unbroken ones too. I don’t like the stress on my body and I do have fear of being out of breath to the point of serious discomfort. I’m an endurance, long-distance girl, an EMOM that lasts forever? Heaven for me.] What a sprint might feel like today. That’s my way of bearing down on ‘Try to beat your time.’   We are who we are, right? Some part of us always remains, though things within and beyond change beyond expectation.

It was a banner WKO today, in the end. A sprint felt do-able. I am more fit than I was a month ago. I took serious time off a time. And yet all the elements of a CF community play into these things. I got goaded and then amused myself. The energy of the circle did have its general hilarity this morning. I think the emoji journey and bemusement distracted my own quarantine sad self enough to try the sprint. Really. So it’s all of a piece for me. CrossFit math will rarely motivate me, but getting to flip the bird and laugh about it? Learning about a swearing unicorn? Apparently these things will.

We are who we are, after all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Yes, Ma'am, I AM

Are you more healthy than you were a month ago?  

This question met me this morning, as I stood awaiting the water to heat for the pourover I enjoy most mornings. (My nod to ‘going half-caf,’though I sip it most of the day, so probably still a good cup each day.) I DO believe I AM healthier these 30 days later, but in what ways am I noticing? I felt the question arise again, finishing a gauntlet of ropeless double-unders and Fran burpees, I decided to re-install my Wholly Grounds coffee shop ‘gift to myself’ after my workout. Here at my dining room table, with my re-heated half-caf coffee then… (gently inviting, if still not the same as the Wholly Grounds shop I hope survives this time…)

I know I am more fit than I was a month ago, though I don’t have the InBody numbers to confirm what I know. I am staying close to my 8 a.m. WKO practice with CrossFit peeps, while listening more fully to my own body too. I rarely take note of anyone on the screen—too busy tending to my own movement and out-of-breath-ness—but it helps me anyway, knowing they are there, doing the wko too. I leave my downstairs workout space feeling anchored, grounded, for the day. 

Some "additions" to my fitness routines suggest to me “more fit”: some additional short runs for me, and walking to the Preserve most days with Brian and Nala—down a huge hill, into the paved loop (usually), then back up the huge hill. I’ll guess it’s a little over two miles/day. 

We don’t have a scale anymore—or at least we can’t find where I stashed the one we had, which I don’t remember throwing away. 😬 But my jeans are fitting differently, more loosely. Even the smallest size I have. I finally put the larger sizes into storage, with the future idea of donating to GoodWill. Perhaps not wise in the Era of the Virus, or EotV, as I’ll say. It is on my list to purge my closet today, placing into storage clothes I simply don’t wear anymore, whether for bodyshape or simply professional-need-decline. I’m feeling the need to clear out the energies of the old, methinks.

My eating rhythms have changed a little, but even that set of intentions seems refined and healthier for the era. My appetite waxes and wanes more than I was aware of before. Not sure if that is the change in appetite or simply my own awareness of it, with less automobile-mobility and distraction than I am accustomed to. I’m enjoying food less, but my diet hasn’t changed a LOT in the stress of the quarantine. Brian and I had already differentiated in my DH journey, really by late fall, so that hasn’t felt too hard. Blessedly. He is the grocery shopper (we actually think he’s already had COVID-19, mid-February), and I know he gets frustrated with my fresh vegetables and high protein preferences. I tend the ‘stockpile’ to make sure we eat all we buy, in time, before it spoils. I am sure to express my own gratitude for the efforts he makes on behalf of my body’s best path.

I do know I’m drinking more alcohol than I did in the workaday life I used to have. Work meetings at least twice a week, more like 3-4 nights, prevented being home or tempted into cocktail hour (which I often lay at Brian’s feet, in some blame, but I do enjoy it too :)). Being in quarantine has forced me—or shall we say 'invited me'?—to define more consciously, in communication, what my rhythms need to be for me. I’ve set up an intention, in the home, with Brian’s awareness for me but not him: an every third day option for enjoying cocktail hour, low-carb versions preferred. That means about twice a week if I take the option, three times when the days fall on Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday. Sometimes I actually do refuse the 'option,’ as my body just seems happier with seltzer even though it doesn't relax my mind the same way. And then there are the days when a bit of rye over ice is nice to sip. Or pear-infused vodka in a seltzer, over ice. Tasty. 

Easter feasting was a bit out of the normal, but it was Easter and I love feasting in moderation. Lemon bread is simply yummy goodness that I take delight in baking and eating. All of it. Following up with a high protein-veggie breakfast, an afternoon of hot-lemon water and an evening of fasting allows my body to recover in some feeling-good ways. To be expected, my body’s appetite was HUGE yesterday, after the evening of fasting. Today is back to normal. I’m reminded how I dislike the ups and downs of the sugar crave patterns, and the sweet-tooth ‘recovery time’ after a feast weekend is easily met with herbal tea. Decaf chai is even too sweet, but helps reset that pattern/expectation for me. I can allow whatever I’m feeling to land in my body, apart from most emotional-food-eating I know all too well. 

I am also healthier than a month ago, internally, in my capacities to be-with, to receive and allow discomfort, dis-ease, sadness and more. My relationship to loss and grief is changing. Even anxiety and fear. What am I grieving today? has become a question I sit with a couple times a day, regardless of what I'm aware of feeling. I used to assess my feelings and try to respond/allow them. But grief simply accompanies me/us today. Of course, as I become aware of a particular loss—contact with friends, the feel of my life 'out there’ or seeing the countryside as I travel between Columbus and Dayton and Cincinnati, being at a coffee shop for some quiet writing time—I bow to it and honor it as part of this day. Underneath each grief is a beautiful thing about this life, after all. This morning, I felt the absence of a couple CF peeps particularly, so I honored that. Reached out a bit. It’s not the same, but I feel the grief because the connection is so important to me, cherished. I get to experience more connection than many get to...and I love that. We lost the first member of our congregational family two days ago, COVID-19. I learned a colleague’s mother died yesterday, same symptoms though untested. Each hits a deep belly sadness and an honoring of loss. Life would be less rich if I didn’t feel the sadness so deeply. So I welcome Ms. Grief in her stiff formal clothing and prim-and-proper funeral attire. I ask her to sit at my dining room table with me. I smile at her and befriend what she brings. I still wish I had a different companion, of course, but...she’s not as foreboding or impolite as I once feared.

Am I healthier than I was a month ago? Yes. In many ways… For me, my physical health is a boon for this time of quarantine--it is my best 'defense' and I am pleased with how I'm tending it. But health also means for me...being more attuned to the deep belly fears of those dear to me—to quote a friend—and simply being-with, feeling powerless except for the one thing in front of me to do. And, of course, staying with the physical activity, staying-conscious choices, and intentional actions of celebration and delight. 

A walk in the Preserve is coming, even with the chill, and a bit of a toast to this journey inward...beverage yet to be determined. 😜

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Glimpses of Gratitude in #StayAtHome - 1

I just played Bingo. I cannot remember the last time I actually played Bingo! Of course, because of how my life darts and weaves these days, I did so while cooking bacon over a medium-low heat, making sure it took the length of time to enjoy several rounds of Bingo. 

Our morning here had been appropriately relaxing, beginning with coffee in bed and some quiet reading-writing times. I knew if I wanted to try my new running shoes out today, it would have to be early in the day. Even though it would be chilly. So…we made plans for me to enjoy a run, then be in charge of breakfast-brunch plans…all nicely coordinated so to enjoy Zoom Quarantine Bingo with CrossFit peeps. It is GOOD to be grateful for the things we’d never experience were it not for #stayathome. I cannot remember the last time I played Bingo with friends, for example, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Simple. Easy. Restful. FUN.

I’ve not run continuously for 35 minutes in a long, long while either. Our city finally completed the sidewalk that now runs down the hill of Shakertown Rd. by our condo complex. This has revolutionized our walking routes, now easily and safely able to include the nature preserve that is a part of Bergamo/Mt. Saint John. We visit there nearly daily now, with Nala leading the way, or trying to. But this morning, I found myself a bit nostalgic for the three ‘loops’ we’d always used to walk and I would often run. Or four loops, if you count the “walk to the Stop sign and back” as a loop. Stop-sign (1.2 miles or so), short loop (1.5 miles or so), middle way (2-2.5ish) and longish loop (3-3.5 miles, probably). There’s an even longer loop that sometimes we’d take, over to the Greene shopping complexes and back, which is closer to 4 miles, but that seems unwise in the #stayathome days.

This morning, I headed out at a gentle pace, simply to run until it didn’t feel good anymore. I figured that would take maybe 1.5-2 miles, with some walking home. 35 minutes later, I found myself walking into the garage, having enjoyed the 3ish mile loop at a continuous, loping pace. How about that! New shoes, attentive form, not even that out of breath at the end. Interesting…

Things I notice… I used to run with a rising ‘out-of-breath-ness’ that would happen in the first mile, whereupon I would set a rhythm of in-breaths and out-breaths attuned to my pace, my steps. This would calm my mind a bit, with an orderly feeling of what to expect, and my body would move into the longer distance with a greater sense of ease. I don’t think I ever got to the out-of-breath-ness this morning. Or if I did, my body attuned to the pace without any conscious thought. Not sure which it was, actually.

I can remember the two ‘kinds’ of metabolism, I think it’s categorized…or two kinds of somethin’ where your body burns a certain kind of fuel at the front end (anaerobic) of exertion, then burns a second kind of fuel (aerobic) with a more sustained exertion. (If I were at Community workout this morning, I could just ask Jim). I think the extensive anaerobic workouts I now regularly enjoy (yes, enjoy) have really deepened my body’s capacity for greater distances and exertion, without the out-of-breath-ness panic that used to rise up inside.

My mind was much more engaged and peaceful in the run this morning as well. Or perhaps distracted, as I took in the beautiful redbuds I saw, the new landscaping in some of the houses I always would pass on this route. I marveled at the ancient sense of some of the trees on one of the streets—they must be at least 100 or 150 years old, which for us in Beavercreek, is old.

Coming home to get to enjoy some food prep time for brunch was a gift for me too.
For one, I could do so with CrossFit peeps in my kitchen with me, via Zoom Bingo. But I thoroughly enjoy cooking healthy food for myself (and Brian), stewarding all we bring home with a bit more intention, less waste. When there is just two of you (plus a dog), it’s easy to throw out a lot of food. Since I’ve become more conscious with my food life and choices, waste happens much less. Eggs, slow-cooked bacon :), sauteed asparagus, and almond meal muffins. YUM.

And I got to play Bingo this morning. I have yet to order groceries online (shocker! I know…but my husband and I love to go grocery shopping, what can we say?), have yet to binge-watch an entire series of anything. I have yet to take a bike ride, but now the idea is well planted for this next week. 

What has been consistent for me in these #stayathome days has been the community to offer opportunities to workout, stay conscious in fitness, make conscious choices in nutrition and health. Which this weekend will include my once-a-year lemon bread that ROCKS…before returning to a no-sugar week to follow.

Conscious living. Good health. Delight in play and laughter with friends. My glimpses of Gratitude on this Saturday of the unknown days called #stayathome, for the good of all. What are your glimpses of gratitude? Name them, and you’ll smile all day!