Thursday, May 5, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
To date, I’ve stuck with the commitment for a total of 108 days (an auspicious number of which I had not realized until writing this post), or nearly a quarter of the year. There are days that I devote upwards of 20 minutes per session; while there have been other days where the session is as short as a few minutes. There are days where I have meditated several times throughout the day, but for shorter periods. On other days I sit only once but for a longer time. Most of my sessions take place on my cushion at home, while other sessions have taken place at the gym, in a guest room while traveling and even in a bathroom which happened to be the only place I could find some quiet and privacy.
My intention, beginning in May, is to set a time commitment in order to require myself to extend each session to a set minimum duration. Now that I have a firm base of meditating each day, the natural progression should be to expand the time devoted to each session.
Join the Challenge! No excuses!
Commit, today, to spending a few minutes each day doing “Nothing”, i.e. sitting in meditation. I would encourage you to set a goal and commit to meditating, everyday, for the next 30 days. See how it goes and what you experience. As a mediation teacher, I find it interesting how much we can struggle with doing nothing for a few minutes throughout our week; how much resistance, anger and fear can pop up when the idea of relinquishing control for a few minutes a day is entertained. We often have little difficulty attending to a hard workout or going for a run. We are often more than willing to devote an enormous amount of time and energy to a work project. We are too often content spending hours each week in front of the TV or on the computer, yet we can’t seem to find the time or muster the motivation to sit quietly for a few minutes, focusing on our breath and letting go. In general, I understand this and I often know why I have the same resistance within myself or why a student struggles to make meditation a priority, yet it is something you have to discover for yourself. It is through this time in stillness that these sorts of “secrets” may be reviled. Though you should not have this expectation on you practice and you should realize that most insights do not occur during meditation, so much as they are unveiled during mundane moments of our day. I challenge you to confront your fears, your resistance, your defensiveness, your aversion, and your know-it-all ego. Pull up a meditation cushion and just sit still for a while.
So, who’s in? If so, shoot me an email or post your commitment to the “comments” section of this post. Also, if you have never been instructed on how to meditate, let me know - I am here to help.
Look for another update on my 365 day challenge soon!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
You can find the original post and comments here: http://ambersbridge.blogspot.com/2011/03/stinking-it-up.html
"Darn - once again, y'all stole my 'thunder'. I'm super proud to know that you guys are supportive of each other and that you are really starting to 'get it' when it comes to this BTWG Lifestyle.
Just adding my two cents. While we have covered this, in great detail, the past couple weeks at the group meetings, I know you (Amber) have not been at the meetings so it may be new or a good reminder. This applies to everyone and I hope it gets read by all BTWG Recruits:
1) There is no 'success' or 'failure' in BTWG, only outcomes and consequences. No 'good' or 'bad'; that is a judgment you put on yourself. Is it 'good' to waiver back and forth on the diet and workouts? Is it 'bad' to miss the group meetings and support? Is it a 'failure' to avoid meditation?
In reality, it isn't good or bad, success or failure, it just is. The real question is 'are my choices and behaviors in line with my goals and what I want out of my life; my health, fitness, and well-being?' If the answer is 'no' - again, it isn't 'bad' it's just an indication that there is a disconnect between what you say you want and what your actions show. From this you can start to drill down and understand the lack of congruency in your words and actions. Ultimately this leads us to the question of 'why'. Why don't we do what we should be doing? Why do we do so many things we shouldn't be doing? If these things lead us away from our goals and our happiness/peace, then why are we doing them?
Maybe we discover that we have a history of sabotaging ourselves in other aspects of our life, our work, family, relationships, etc. Maybe we realize that we avoid doing positive things for ourselves because of shame a feeling like we don’t deserve it. If so, why?
We have to be willing to continue digging, fighting, working, exploring, surrendering and letting go if we are to get to the root of what holds us back. For some, it may be as simple as really crappy time management skills – get a book, figure it out and get going! For others, we may need to seek counseling to help us understand what is really going on and to help us heal from past hurts and wounds.
2) I've said this A LOT in the past couple weeks of meetings: This isn't 'Weight Watchers' or 'The Biggest Loser' - this program is not about how much weight you can lose in 12 weeks, or how fit you can become in 12 weeks. BTWG is about cultivating a lifestyle of health, fitness and well-being (Body, Mind, and Spirit). The "goal" in the 12 weeks is to create a plan that works and is sustainable. In my opinion, if weight loss is a goal and you don't lose a single pound in the first 10 weeks, but in the 11th week it 'clicks' and you begin to make forward progress and hit your goal weight further down the road, than you is perfect and the outcome has been positive.
Becky W is right – the workouts in the BTWG plan can ALL be done at home with minimal equipment, so if you can’t come to PR Fitness to train, you have everything you need to train at home. What you will miss is the group connection, so do your absolute best to be at the Saturday group meetings. Also, reach out to your fellow Recruits and Mentors and see if anyone wants to hook up for a run or workout; meet for coffee or lunch; hold each other accountable.
Let me know how I can help as well!
Monday, March 14, 2011
Also, congrats to those who toed the line at the Eagle Creek DINO trail race and the indoor triathlon!
I'm looking forward to getting more race reports soon!
Some of the BTWG Gang at Sunday's Big 10 Hoops 5K. Left to Right: Patty's husband (sorry, I've met him once but don't recall his name), Patty C. (BTWG Grad), Cindy (BTWG Grad and current Recruit), Sherri (BTWG Grad and Mentor)
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
"A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor" - African Proverb
Too often we have the notion that life should be easy, free from difficulty and suffering. As comfort seeking creatures we are constantly looking for ways to make life easier. We end up doing all sorts of things for all the wrong reasons - join a religion thinking that suddenly life will be free from pain. We end relationships because we can't deal with another person/group. We sign up for a certain wellness program thinking that "now, my life will be easier and less stressful and I will finally be healthy!" This is an immature mindset and it's impractical.
When we go into a relationship with the incorrect intention it's no wonder we are disappointed that it didn't work out. When we enter a program with the wrong motivation, it's no mystery that, once again, it "just wasn't for me".
Our goal of entering any program, or relationship should be that of becoming a better person, a more well rounded and balanced person. It should be our intention to become more skillful at dealing with difficultly and using it to our advantage and then learn to to help others. We should only hope to gain new tools and support to help us along our journey. I know that in my religion of choice, just because I'm a "believer" doesn't mean that bad things aren't going to happen to me. I know that difficulties will continue to come my way. I also know that my path to wellness doesn't have a secret passageway that leads me around all the obstacles in life and lets me avoid potential stress or hardships. What I do gain from my religion and my wellness path include:
- The list goes on.
Can you embrace difficulty in order to get free from it? Can you thank the pain in your life for helping you to grow as a person? Can you understand that if you are always looking for a safe harbor and calm seas you will never become a skilled sailor in life?
"Pain is mandatory, suffering is optional." - My former drill instructors favorite quote...
I'm not suggesting we go around looking for trouble or difficulty, it finds us easy enough. And I'm not suggesting that life should always be hard or sad. Quite the opposite. As the above quote suggests, pain is part of the human experience and we ALL share this experience. What I am suggesting is that how your respond to difficulty is what matters in life. We have a choice, in each moment, in each experience to chose to view things as negative, or to view situations as positive. Your choice determines your reality. Pain, loss, and our past are all just part of life and who we are, yet we can become more skillful at letting go of the unnecessary suffering and drama that we bring to these experiences.
Here is what Jim Morrison, American poet and rock legend, had to say about pain in life and love:
“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”
One of the things I LOVE about physical training is it affords me an opportunity to cultivate these exact skills and responses that we should have during challenges in life. How do you responds during a hard interval session? Do you stress out during the work phase? If all you can think about during the work interval is getting it over with or wanting it to end as soon as possible, you are missing a golden opportunity. In the weight room, on the trail, on the yoga mat and on the meditation cushion we can forge the mental and physical capacity to better deal with difficulty - it's a choice.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I love reading weekly updates from Recruits when they mention they "passed on the bread" at a restaurant, or had no attraction to dessert, both of which were true Achilles Heels pre-BTWG. I love knowing that the drama that used to surround eating a meal is gone and I love it when Recruits can enjoy a treat without guilt and shame associated to it.
Week 3 + is what I call the "after the honeymoon" phase of BTWG. Initially, there is a ton of excitement and enthusiasm (mixed some nervousness), yet by Week 3 that excitement begins to wane as the real work begins. This is also the point where some will have enough excuses to bail on the program, or continue to struggle with getting fully on board. For others, who are working the program, this is where the inner struggles really begin. Why is that? If you have struggled with emotional eating or using exercise in an unhealthy manner (or avoiding it!) and you begin to follow the program as it is outlined, you are removing your "coping mechanisms" that you normally use to deal with your feelings and emotions. Once you take away your coping mechanisms, those inner demons rear their heads and suddenly it feels like you are stressed to the max, crying for no reason, pissed at the world and/or feeling blue. While these feeling are not fun to have, it's actually a very good thing. You are no longer numbing yourself and stuffing down things that need to be addressed, dealt with and moving forward. It's no different than someone who uses alcohol, drugs, or other vices to numb out life and problems. You are finally showing up in life and are in a position to get healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You have awareness and you have an opportunity for change.
The beauty of BTWG is that you have outlets for your new-found emotions. Intense physical exertion is an excellent way to relieve stress and emotions, as is yoga and meditation. You also have a strong support network that includes your fellow Recruits, Project Mentors, and your coach. Essentially, you have all the makings for a successful journey to health, fitness, and well-being. The key is you - you must be willing to confront your dragons and, as one of my teachers used to say, learn to walk your dragons.
I'm seriously proud of anyone who has the courage to walk this path and to make a lifestyle change. Change usually isn't easy, it requires effort and it requires patience. Yet, if you are willing to stick with it, the potential and outcomes can be pretty amazing and lead to the life you envision.
Welcome to Month 2, Recruits!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
"YIPPEE! still going strong and wow I am confused - never ever thought I would make it this far and loss 10 pounds in 3 week to boot. Not sure why this time I have stay committed to this, I have tried programs before and failed miserably after the first week. Thanks for all of your support. I love the foods I am eating and no longer craving the bad stuff (except maybe an occasional coke here and there would taste wonderful) but I am staying away and feel full and so much better in a short amount of time. Still not getting in as much workout stuff as I would like - but I think that will come once I get the food stuff down. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!"
"365 of Doing Nothing" Update: Day 39/365. I haven't posted much in a while regarding my 365 challenge. Shawna pointed out that by posting about it too much it could make the whole experience too stressful. Boy, was she right. I love it when the "student becomes the teacher". In the end, posting about it everyday was making the practice less authentic so I decided to simply post an update when it feels appropriate.
To date, I have done "nothing" at least once per day, sometimes twice per day, and have not missed a session. While there are still days when it doesn't happen until way past bedtime, I've stayed consistent and have actually started to enjoy the discipline required to stick to my commitment.
One thing of note - along with my earlier report of my body feeling better as a result of sitting every day, I've also noticed my connection to breathing and mindfulness is strengthening as well. During intense workouts I find myself connecting to my breathing more and the "drama" in the head less. I was amazed at how much I had gotten away from this experience as it used to be a regular experience during training/yoga. Clearly, the training effects of meditation are far reaching and no matter how "experienced" we THINK we are - we still must be diligent in our practice.
Monday, February 7, 2011
In case you were not able to attend the group meeting on Saturday, I thought I'd update you a little. Since attendance was low due to the snow, I didn't do much of the talking. Rather, I let the group do most of the talking and to connect on a more personal level.
Here is the highlights of what I did share:
Becky W did a nice job of summing up what was my main point in Saturday's meeting. If you missed the meeting, be sure to read her post: http://beckysbtwg.blogspot.com/2011/02/trust-process.html - After reading, ask yourself the question I asked everyone at the meeting - Are you "in" the program, or are you still dabbling or not fully invested? Are you relying in excuses to avoid doing what I am asking you to do. If you are not "all in", why not? Are you still clinging to "your way"? If so, why? Now that we are entering Week 4 of the program, you should be seeing and feeling the great benefits that come with following the plan (at least 90% compliance). Once we have completed 3 weeks on the plan, this is the point you are either seeing and feeling a difference, or not. So, how about you? Are you trusting the process and doing your best or are you still hanging on to old ways and fear?
The two "C" words - "Change", and "Control". Some people embrace change, be it quickly or slowly, however, many people tend to fear change. When Recruits resist change it is most often due to a need to control, which is a fear based reaction. On the one hand, some have a hard time admitting that "their way" isn't working, as if it is a reflection on who they are as a person. Yet, for some the resistance to change is more connected to a need to control and a fear of what may happen if they let go of that control. This is especially common if you have been hurt, wounded, or burned in the past when you didn't have control (against your will), or when you trusted enough to let go of control and something negative happened as a result.
In Spiritual practice, we learn that to have fear that based on past experiences, experiences others have had, or what may happen is "ignorance" or a lack of clarity of the truth. This is is to say that you are missing the truth, missing reality and limiting yourself based off the past, hearsay, or the future. That, my friends, ain't living in the moment and it's a sure fire way to miss opportunities, such as the one right in front of you.
Finally, there are some who have yet to jump in the game simply out of excuses and laziness. If this is the case, just read the back of one of our PR Fitness shirts and follow the directions, "Suck it up, Buttercup!" Remember, you came to me to make a change and you sincerely wanted to be in this program. Well, you ARE here - now it's show time and time to put on our big boy/big girl pants and get down to the work at hand. If you are struggling, TODAY is the day to drop the excuses, make a plan and get busy getting busy! Talk to me or talk to the BTWG Mentors. Talk to your fellow Recruits. You MUST get on board this week - No Excuses. The longer you sit back and watch the train pull out of the station, the harder it's going to be to get on board.
To those of you who are "all in" - reach out and help those who are struggling. Blog about what you are doing and why it is working. Share with all of us your "secrets", you tips and how you are navigating through your own fears and challenges. At the meetings, speak up and help those who need your help.
As always, I'm here to help - just reach out and let me know what you need.
Enjoy your recovery week and get ready for Month 2 to get underway next Monday! I'm proud of everyone in the program, regardless of your Month 1 progress - if you are in the fight, you are still way ahead of most in our society.
Monday, January 24, 2011
May each of us live our lives even half as good as Jack did - the world would be a much happier and healthful planet, that's for sure!
Meditation Update: 24 of 365. I'm happy to report that it's been 24 days, and I have yet to miss a meditation session. The sessions have varied in length from 10 minutes, to upwards of 30 minutes and, as with any meditation practice, the quality varies from session to session.
One thing I have also noticed is the changes and reaction my body is having to the more frequency in seated meditation. To be honest, I used to spend a great deal of time sitting on the floor and I had gotten away from doing it as often. Along with the daily meditation sessions, I'm spending much more time sitting on the floor over the past 3 weeks. I find this practice makes a tremendous difference in reducing stiffness in the body, eliminates tight back muscles and helps to liberate the hips. Did you know that in cultures where people sit and sleep on the floor they have virtually no incidence of hip degeneration or back issues?
Monday, January 17, 2011
Be sure to also offer your support and encouragement via the "comments" section on the blogs.
Have a great Day 1, Gang - we are officially UNDERWAY!!!
In honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King...
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Days 11-14 were a little rougher than what I've experienced since day 1 of this challenge, though I somewhat expected that to be the case. Tuesday through Thursday of each week are marathon long days for me and I have very little time for anything other than what I already have scheduled in my day. Once bedtime rolls around, like so many of you, I'm ready to crash and rest. Yet, I stuck to my commitment and, once again, dragged my tired butt to the meditation cushion and sat. Though a couple of sessions were a little shorter, I still sat and gave the practice my fullest attention I could muster.
Next week, my intention is to do my meditation practice earlier in the day on my long work days, rather than at night. I'm confident that will be a win/win (if I can use that phrase regarding meditation) in many respects.
Last night (Saturday, Day 15) was a nice long session after a very rewarding week of getting things finalized for BTWG, including a chance to meet the rest of the New Recruits at Friday's Initial Testing and a great "Orientation" session yesterday afternoon at PR Fitness.
Tomorrow is D-Day for the New Recruits - the 12 week journey officially begins. Be sure to check back to this blog on a regular basis, and more important, be sure to visit the Recruit blogs as well as the blogs from previous BTWG Grads. Rob and Sherri have cleared the dust and cobwebs from their blog and have them fired up and running once again.
Alright Recruits - you ready?!?!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
There it is, in skin and ink! The first ever BTWG "No Excuses!" tat. Guess I better call and schedule an appointment... : )
"No Excuses" has many meanings in BTWG and as each Recruit makes their journey, those two simple words take on different meanings for each. I always look forward to how it is interpreted throughout the course of the 12 weeks and the meaning that it can take on.
New Recruits - feel free to post in the "comments" what "No Excuses" means to you!
Meditation - Day 10 of 365: completed. A shorter session this time, perhaps 10:00 or so. Planning on sitting earlier tomorrow rather than waiting for bedtime, though Tuesday is always a marathon day for me so the session may have to wait until the day is done...
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Virtual training, emails, and blogging has its up side, for sure - we can exchange information, ideas and experiences when it is most "convenient" for our schedule. Often, I will either stay up very late, or wake very early in order to respond to emails. Additionally, I find that students are often more open and share more via emails and blogs than they will in person. Yet it is these in person encounters and our weekly group meetings that make BTWG what it is - a community!
New Recruits - I look forward to seeing you tomorrow and getting underway!
Rest up. Sleep well and be ready to roll tomorrow.
Meditation - Day 6 of 365.
Nothing much to report. Got 'er done, waaaaay too close to mid-night. Sleep and res
t has been a rare commodity around here this week...
Another BTWG'er accepts Chris' challenge throwdown -
Chris Chambers not only accepted my 30 day meditation challenge, he took it a further and embraced the 365 Challenge! Check out his blog: http://btwg-chrisc.blogspot.com/2011/01/oughta-be-committed.html to follow his meditation and BTWG progress.
Way to go, Chris!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I realize that some who peer in on this blog don't see what the big deal is about doing "nothing", every day, for 365 days. Fair enough, but if that is you, let me throw out a challenge. Let me teach you the practice, then lets see you meditate every day for even 30 days! Only then will you know how difficult an endurance challenge this really is. Not saying that to be prideful, just saying that only through direct experience will you know what makes this, indeed, an endurance challenge.
Some interesting points to consider:
- I assign my clients a meditation practice, along with their nutrition and workout assignments. Hands down, meditation is the assignment that gets missed the most.
- Recruits in BTWG are assigned weekly meditation sessions. Again, hands down, it is the number one missed, skipped, or "forgotten" assignment during the 12 week program.
- Though I was first introduced to meditation over 17 years ago, I still struggle with sitting on a regular, consistent basis!
The reasons are many, the excuses are even greater, but at the end of the day it's because we are accustomed to "doing-ness" and "busy-ness". We are accustomed to stimulation, over-stimulation and action. We are accustomed to our minds being Lord and Ruler of our life and have a need to be in charge and in control. In meditation, we are relinquishing some of that control and that freaks some people out. We (our mind) prefer being a human-doing over a human-being.
Additionally, we are a culture who likes results, feedback, recognition, reward, and gratification - in the meditation realm, this stuff just doesn't fly. If you are looking for an "atta-boy!" after a session, it ain't gonna happen. If you are looking for a "good/bad" outcome, it ain't there. If you are looking for some sort of reward or gratification, again, you are barking up the wrong tree.
A handful of students will forsake the practice simply because they tend to sabotage themselves in just about every facet of their training and life - why should meditation be any different?
For others, stillness will bring up fear, stress and anxiety and since we already have plenty of that in our lives, why take precious time out of our day to add more!
There are also spiritual implications that go beyond the context of this post.
So, if you think doing a formal meditation session is no big deal, or a silly challenge, or if you are one of those skeptics/critics, accept my 30 day challenge!
Day 4 of 365 - Finally....?
Only 4 days in and already the ego rebels. "It's late, it's been a marathon day and all I want to do is go to bed!" The house was noisy and I was frustrated. Yeah, it was one of those kind of sessions. Yet at 11:40pm, I dragged my sorry butt to the meditation cushion and did "nothing"...
Monday, January 3, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Having said that, as of 11:00pm 1/1/2011, I've made a New Years commitment, a commitment to do "nothing" every day for the entire year. As fun as that sounds, let me explain.
First off, this isn't a "resolution", its a commitment or intention which is a change of mind, heart and spirit; very different than a resolution (again, see the related blog post for clarification)
Second, I made this intention last night after a moment of inspiration that also came from the heart - I had no plan to make any sort of definitive changes in conjunction with the New Year. In fact, other than going out to celebrate the New Year, like so many do, I had otherwise ignored the rest of the hoopla that comes along with cracking open a new calendar. So this inspiration and challenge caught me rather by surprise.
Third, by "nothing" I actually mean "Meditation" which in reality is both nothing AND everything!
I've been a long time practitioner of seated meditation (based on Zazen meditation), I typically meditate an average of 2-3 times per week for anywhere from 10 minutes to upwards of 30 minutes. I've taught others this form of meditation. I've taught workshops on meditation and meditation is assigned to those who participate in BTWG. Having said that, I'm no "master" and I know better than to make an attempt to explain "why" I'm feeling inspired to take on this challenge. I also know better than to predict or expect anything to come of this effort - that's not how this game is played.Here is one thing I do know. My 365 challenge is unique from most other 365 challenges I am familiar with in that it involves "nothing". I personally know others who have completed a 365 day challenges and I've seen numerous other blogs from people doing 365 days of "something", i.e. exercise, yoga, Kelly Starretts Mobility Workouts, Dave Lipson's 365 days of Squatting 450#, and so forth. All of these examples are honorable in their own right, yet they are centered around "action" or doing "something". I think there is already far too much doing-ness in our lives and not near enough nothingness. So, here is my contribution and my commitment.
Along with my goal of sitting in meditation each day for a minimum of 10 minutes, I will make at least a brief post or update on this blog everyday.
1 day down, 364 to go...