Day 39: Less of Me

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Short post today, promise. I am really tired.

I really don’t check my weight very often. I did in August and once, a month ago, on a wonky scale that kept giving me different readings. Today I used a good one.

My dad told me that one pound of fat has 200 miles of blood vessels in it. I googled it and, with the exception of one shady looking website, it looks to be true.* That means, in 9 months, I managed to give my heart 6600 miles less work to do.  That feels damn good to know. It also explains the rise in my energy levels.

I lived today. It was awesome. 

 

 

*If I’m wrong, please feel free to give me the facts.

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Day 25: Just Start

DgbMpv5I love all the comments and private messages I have received.  Just wonderful. Lots of people sharing their thoughts and feelings about the 100 Days of Awesome.  I love every message and comment. Please, keep them coming.

Two days ago a friend commented about Day 22’s post. He said:

 “Why should live (sic) be awesome? There is no richness in that. A robot will always have an awesome day. We are not robots, thank God. Huge like on this post…”

I agree completely. Happiness, or awesomeness, is not just smiling and laughing. It is not just the good times.  It is life and everything that comes with it. Why does the caged bird sing? How did those who survived the Holocaust manage to move forward and even find happiness during and later in life? How do people, despite so many hardships, manage to still have peace, happiness and … awesome?

That’s at the heart of this project. It’s recognizing the beauty even in the worst of times. It’s being present for it all.

I still remember the day I argued with my professor about a short story, by James Joyce from the “Dubliners.” It is called, “Two Gallants.” I am a little hazy with the story details after all these years. What I do remember is that the two main characters are, as my professor put it, “Wretched, anti-heroes. Their character and behavior does not conform to what a civilized society would consider appropriate.”

I looked at it differently. I saw them as people raised under different circumstances than most, and still contemplating their lives and futures. I saw them making the most of their situation despite how they lived. * I looked at them as heroes, in a sense. I liked them.

The point of all of this is that our perceptions of things, regardless of what we face, is the deciding factor in how our lives will be. Good and bad will happen regardless. Every person you know and see faces their demons daily. Why are some able to still enjoy their lives? As much as no one wants it, pain and misery can be beautiful. What I need to work on is seeing it.  I can get lost in what was and may never be. I often miss the beauty of it all.  That is where I struggle. That is why I put so much focus on mindfulness and living in the present. That is a key part of achieving awesomeness. 

With all that, I will spare you the details of the day, only to say that I accomplished a great deal, lived in the moment, and have loved this day immensely.

I lived today. It was awesome. 

*If anyone has read it recently, feel free to correct me. I could be getting the story mixed up. It’s been about 20 years.

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Day 20: !! F#*@ ing Great Day.

It’s Day 20! I am 1/5th of the way there! A Guinness is in order!!!

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In the last 20 days I:

1. Jogged at least three times a week and have a lot more energy.

2. Got an official cheerleader who, by the way, said I write well. I think it may be a cheerleading tactic. Cheerleaders are like cheer ninjas, sneaking motivation in without you realizing it… the good ones at least.

3. Wrote a lot every day. Personally and publicly.

4. Ate very healthy.

5. Was mindful of my life and feel… here now. I am present more than I have been in many years.

6. Figured out a great budget for living well with good savings.

7. Fixed, resolved, worked on personal things.

8. Become a much happier person and have started to find myself again.

9. Have reconnected with my kids. We were good before. We are better now.

10. Read more.

11. Was a better teacher.

12. Lost weight that was weighing me down. That was a bonus. I really don’t care so much about that part.

13. Made new friends.

14. Learned a lot.

15. Struggled but overcame.

Today? Fucking great.

Yesterday I was worried about falling out of my routines. Being conscious of it helped. I ran this morning . Yes, on a Saturday morning. I went faster than any day yet. Not as far, but faster. Oh yeah.

I then went to task redoing the girls’ rooms. It took a little time and effort, but they helped me as best they could. Had to wash the floors really well, and prep it for painting. The floors are 100 years old. I finished the walls when I first moved in, but the floors needed some help. Finished with the first coat today and tomorrow will be a piece of cake. It took all day but looks amazing.

One fun part was sitting there painting while my oldest sat and watched me, asking me questions about life and the universe. It was… fun. Working, scrubbing, and painting, was fun. Seriously.

I am very, very tired now… Going to sleep like a baby tonight.

And that brings us to the end of Day 20. If this keeps up, day 21 will be even better.

I lived today. I loved today. I laughed today. Today was awesome. 

 

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If I Could Show You One Video…

I believe everyone should watch this video.

I hold a great fondness for the, now deceased, writer David Foster Wallace.

In 2005, at Kenyon College, he gave a commencement speech. I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon it not long after. Recently, someone made a short video using part of the speech.

I watch it often. I need to remind myself that this is water.

 

This is Water from Patrick Buckley on Vimeo.

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Walk Yourself a Mile More

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Found this poem great poem today here.  Lovely. I thought it might have been a Frost poem, but alas it was just a random person I found online.

While walking once I found I’d missed
A turn or two along the way.
A clearing stood with Autumn’s mist
Still hanging, gorgeous, gentle grey.
Sad to say, I did not linger,
But walked again back to my home.
I did not stop and sit to sing there,
I did not run and race and roam.
I came to find my house was stolid,
Unchanged, unmarked, unhurt, and known-
What would have passed if it had fallen?
Would I have built another home?
What turned me back from exploration?
What wind blew me back to shore?
What was not worth my exultation?
Would I walk that way once more?
The brave among us wander onward-
They seek a plot untouched by man.
The meek, like me, turn back, but wonder-
Must all our lives be known and planned?
So, travelers, when the night turns dreary
When walking further seems like war
When bones and chest and feet grow weary-
Walk yourself a mile more.

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Bill Murray’s Dharma Talk on What It’s Like to Be You | On Being

I like Bill Murray and hearing him talk like this just makes me like him even more.

I am. This is me now. Here I am, right now. This is me now. Then you don’t feel like you have to leave, and be over there, or look over there. You don’t feel like you have to rush off and be somewhere. There’s just a wonderful sense of well-being that begins to circulate up and down, from your top to your bottom.

Bill Murray’s Dharma Talk on What It’s Like to Be You | On Being.

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Day 11: Back in the Saddle!

Listen to your body. If you are tired, I mean really tired, sleep. Yesterday I slept almost 12 hours. My body needed it. Why? I have no idea. All I know was I was having difficulty functioning and needed to rest. I feel 100 times better today.

This morning I made up for yesterday’s missed run. I will admit that it was not easy, as this video shows. You see, last night I promised myself to make a video of what it is like when I wake up. I wanted to show just how hard it can be for me in the morning. I am sure it’s not just me either. There is no acting involved, though I did add some music before publishing the video. If this guy can do it, so can you. 

 

Right after I made the video I saw that I had a message. It was from an awesome friend, back in the States, telling me to keep going. This is what got my ass up out of bed. I actually had a small amount of inspired tears (don’t tell anyone! I need to maintain my manly persona.) as I started down the road, “Blue Sky” from the Allman Brothers playing in my ears. It’s good to get it out sometimes.

It’s a struggle to run but, when I am finally out there, it gets easier. I ALWAYS feel better afterwards. Watching the sunrise is a bonus.

Running was one of the main goals to start 100 Days. It’s not the only thing I plan on doing, but it really gives me a boost throughout the day. The trick to making this project work is taking small bites instead of trying to do too much at once. Small obtainable goals become habits and new challenges follow.

I can also add writing, mindfulness, and laughing, quite a few times, to the day.

It’s close to the end of Day 11 and I can see growth, outside and in. I see it. I feel it. I am living better each day. It was an awesome day.

I was here today. I lived.

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Thích Nhất Hạnh

neobuddh1601“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”

-Thích Nhất Hạnh

Years ago I worked at a coffee shop while finishing up my teaching degree. It was a busy time. I was working 30 hours serving coffee, and close to 40 hours a week as a student teacher. It was also the most peaceful time I remember. It was an extremely spiritual time. So much was growing and changing within me. I was searching, exploring, learning and growing in so many ways.

I ate no meat, no dairy, biked everywhere, had no television in my house, very little furniture, read and wrote daily, took long walks in the evening with my dogs, and, overall, was living as purposefully as possible. I was extremely content and open to the world around me. I am trying to find my way back to that place.

At work, I met a Russian Orthodox priest who would come in for tea. We chatted often when he visited. Eventually I visited he and his family for longer talks. I even went to church a few times. He made a huge impact on my life at the time. We had some amazing enlightening talks.

The coffee shop also had a “library”, of sorts, that people could give and take whatever they wanted. One day, during a break, I found a book from Thích Nhất Hạnh. I remember reading it and feeling extremely moved by the things he had to say.

I have revisited him lately. His books are part of my nightly reading. His quotes alone are inspiring and keep me focused on my goals. Thích Nhất Hạnh deserves a place in the 100 Days of Awesome.

 

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Day 6 and 7

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“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.” 

Thích Nhất Hạnh, Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living

#100daysofawesome

Day 6 was active enough that I didn’t get to post. I did some private journaling but didn’t get to the blog. I did have a great morning walk with my girls and a nice visit with a friend in the evening. I also bought a used bike. Bike to work now that the weather is nicer? You know it baby!

I am finding being more active has raised my mood and overall sense of well-being. Shocker right?!

I love my Nike Fuelband. (Bought in the US for $100, sells in Norway for $182.) I bought it last summer while I was in the States and it has been a wonderful addition to my life. It’s a simple tracker, there are no pulse readings or phone call apps on it. What it does do is track my movement throughout the day and estimates calories burned. There is also an app on my phone that I connect to see averages, and current averages for others my age. Nike uses a point system called Nike Fuel.  You can connect with friends and compete or just use it to set goals for yourself. I set my point system to 2500 per day.

Here is a visual of last week (not awesome) and this week (awesome). It is so nice to have a visual log of my movement and activity. It really motivates me.

Here’s last week. As you can see, it was not a week of awesome.

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And… Week #1 of 100 Days of Awesome:

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Big difference huh? Sunday, of course, has just started, so it is still red.

I am setting my goal points to 3000 for week 2.

This day, this Sunday, will be less active. That I know.  We all need a day to rest. What I will do today is focus on my goals for week #2, while staying consistent with the things I have done in week 1. Mindfulness and Meditation are playing a huge role, but are a more personal journey. I continue with it.

So far so good. I am here, I am alive, and I am getting better and better every day. Sucking the marrow is proving extremely rewarding. 

Loving these songs while I write.

Ben Howard- Promise     Spotify link     iTunes link

Jude in the Mountains     Spotify link    iTunes link

 

 

 

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Day #4: Take it all

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“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh

A lot of people keep asking me what this is all about. The truth is that I am still not 100 % sure. It’s an evolving approach to my life. It’s not about just being healthy or eating right, although I am doing those things.

I want to LIVE.  Yes, I am eating healthy and exercising, but I am not going to deny myself a night out with good friends and eating unhealthy either. I believe that taking care of my body will offer a better quality of life in the years ahead. I also believe that being too damn strict about it will make me unhappy. It’s all about the balance. If I need to lay in bed and sleep late, I will damn well do that too… just not everyday.

We all have challenges that we have faced throughout our lives. This, for me, is my way of meeting those challenges in a positive way. I am trying to rewire my brain in a way that approaches the day with enthusiasm, realistic goals, acceptance, thankfulness for what I have, and a clear conscience.

I am casting aside the, ” have a bad moment and the day is ruined”, attitude.  The typical, “bad day” syndrome. Today wasn’t perfect, despite it looking like that on my Facebook page. I had to take my daughter to the emergency room to get checked for an illness. I had moments I got frustrated.  But, despite these moments, I accepted them and worked through them in a conscious way that didn’t ruin the whole damn day. These are moments in a journey. I appreciate them all.

I went into today with one  focus. There will be moments I don’t like, and moments I do. Being prepared for either or both makes a world of difference. I lived today. 

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