This Thanksgiving, I believe we should not only give thanks, but we should recognize that sometimes it’s damned hard to give thanks. Some of us may be unemployed. People are occupying squares around the world to vent anything but their gratitude. Some of our loved ones may be deployed in a war zone. We ourselves, or our loved ones may be hurting with illness that may or may not go away. Maybe nothing’s really wrong, but we’re just stubbornly holding onto that thing that’s not going the way we want. Yes, I know that today is not supposed to be the day where we count the number of ways that the we are or our world is broken. But what if that’s all you can do?
Sometimes, you just need to sneak up on it.
Well, if gratitude eludes you, you sneak up on it, of course.
The first head-fake into gratitude is to try the opposite. If gratitude eludes you, try longing. Continue reading →
Sometimes, someone comes at us with something we can’t really understand. There’s a word or concept that’s new to our vernacular. There are a number of possible responses. Maybe we cast a furrowed, skeptical brow in their direction. Maybe we nod, as if we want to seem knowledgeable, when we really have no idea. Maybe we take it on board, like tapping our feet to the rhythm of a song to which we don’t know how to dance. Maybe we even recite it back, like poetry whose meaning escapes us, but we like the sound of the words. Perhaps we discount or ignore it, even if it perks our interest just a bit. We’re busy, so what’s your point?
One day, four of us were hiking to a climbing spot when I heard a rumble. “Was that a motorcycle of in the distance“, I asked my partner, “or was that what I think it was?” The thunder rumbled again. Now might be a good time to note that I am petrified of being outside during a thunderstorm. Our other two friends caught up with us. We discussed whether to make the last bit to the top of the mountain, or start heading down. ”Start heading down! Start heading down!” my neuroses cried out. The two guys wanted to finish the short distance to the top. With a slightly louder rumble and a widening of the whites of my eyes, my friend Z said that she would go down with me. One should never go alone, she said.
Thank god. Soon, the heavens opened up. A sprinkle turned into a torrential downpour, and the thunder rumbled with increasing frequency. I started to run-walk. “Slow down,” Z urged. “Don’t panic. You’re going to fall and break an ankle, and then where would you be?” Continue reading →
In the height of my workaholism, I was running from meeting to meeting without time for a proper lunch. With a regular team meeting at 11 and an offsite meeting at 1pm, I subsisted on Snickers and Diet Dr. Pepper for lunch. When I got home close to 10pm, too exhausted to think, much less about cooking, I would wearily open up the chips, throw salsa and sour cream into a bowl, and wash it down with a beer before collapsing into bed.
So far, I’ve blogged a fair bit about my passion for climbing and what it’s taught me. However, one of my first real head-fake lessons came from Bikram yoga. Bikram is a series of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises done in a 105 degree heated room. Yeah, that’s hot. (No, not that kind of hot – if you think about doing yoga to catch the eye of that cutie, Continue reading →
In my earlier entry, Catching the Run-off, I mentioned small, obtainable goals, such as the ones listed in 40 Tips for a Better Life. My problem appears to be that I set big hairy goals, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s when I get so impatient with my progress that the frustration and discouragement sets in – that’s the bad thing. I frequently discount small bits of progress as insignificant. Take learning how to breathe for example….
The Beauty of Bouldering Gestures, by liquene, on Flickr
“What’s the problem?” Tracy asks.
“I can’t feel my hands.”
“Well, take a rest. Warm them up.”
I furiously rub my hands on the little pocket warmers in the pockets of my new, shiny, PrimaLoft jacket. It’s 43 degrees. The snow had mostly melted and the sun teased us through the clouds. We were climbing the Rico Suave Buttress at New River Gorge – a section of rock covered by a huge overhang roof that kept the route dry and enabled our snowy and wet Yoga and Climbing Retreat to uphold the climbing part of the deal. Continue reading →
Just a bunch of pansies. (They are actually quite a hardy plant, so why the pejorative?) Photo by KitAy on Flickr
I’m a bit of a cold pansy, I admit it. Actually, pansies are tougher than I am in the cold. So when it snows in October, on the weekend of my New River Gorge Climbing and Yoga retreat, you can imagine my distress.
Don’t panic, I tell myself. Perhaps I’ve just never been properly dressed for the cold. (I’m new at this badass lifestyle, remember.) I stop by North Face and Patagonia to get an education on layering. Two and a half hours later, armed with a Capilene base layer and PrimaLoft synthetic down jacket, I barely escape DC’s Friday rush hour traffic and HOV restrictions. Continue reading →