Friday, October 31, 2008

Big Bear this weekend

I am heading up to Big Bear this weekend. Hopefully I will get some good pictures there.


sI am on the cross trainer at the gym reading Coaching the Artist Within and am
up to the part containing the author's centering exercise.

As instructed by the book I stop reading and do the exercise a few times (if
you haven't read it, it involves 6 breathes and 6 thoughts:

  1. Stopping

  2. Expecting nothing

  3. Naming your work

  4. Trusting your resources

  5. Embracing the moment

  6. Returning with strength)

It seems ok other than I am on a cross trainer and can't manage the
breathes as easily as I would normally.

I read a little farther and the book starts to disect the steps. It starts
on stopping and truly giving yourself permission to completely stop. My immediate
thoughts are,

"I am a total fraud at this centering stuff, Here I am thinking I am doing
a great job keeping up with my reading, getting centered, and really kicking
ass at it at the same time. But I am on a freakin cross trainer, how the heck
am I gonna stop completely and run at the same time."

I convince myself I can and try the exercise again but "stop completely" rings in my head and I have trouble believing I can stop completely in any state without stoping in at least the physical one, mental and spiritual will have to follow behind because it is impossible to center and be moving at the same time (this is what I tell myself). I also am enjoying my run and don't want to stop. This is clearly procrastinationg taking over because I don't
have a time limit and can always get back on and do more.

I finally give up and step off the exercise machine (fully intending to get
back on as soon as I master this stopping stuff).

I stand 2 footwidths apart and think GRACE for a moment (don't worry if you don't
get this, I will follow up on it in another post someday.)And breathe in to
the thought - I AM COMPLETELY making sure to draw out the words through the

I am not supposed to let images come in to my head but the letter's show up behind my closed lids anyway (just like on the cross trainer) when the inhale is complete I pause for a moment (this is easier standing still)and start the exhale to the thought "stopping" turning
it in to sssssssssstooooooooooooooopiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnng.

I take a moment to analyse where I am and how I feel compared to how I felt
after doing the exercise on the cross trainer. It isn't much different! It isn't
much different!!!!? What the hell am I doing wrong now? Other than the breathing
being a little harder the exercise put me in the exact same mental state whether
I was running or standing still.

Now I don't feel like a fraud any more, I feel like a failure. I can't
do a simple thing like stopping let alone centering. I have failed?

Is this true? No. I am trying this exercise for the first time, I haven't failed, in fact I feel a whole lot better than I did before I started (I haven't
only mediated but also exercised so I feel quite good indeed). Failed? No but
just like any practice/tool/exercise/talent, this will require practice.

I commit to practicing this exercise.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Cross trainer gtd

I have found that written capture and reading is pretty easy on the cross trainer. I can even blog from here now. Will the wonders ever cease.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Sarah and I are going to the gym at 00:23. We were going to go to bed but I got the idea in my head to do a half hour on the cross trainer before. We could just has easily have spent a half hour watching TV or hanging out with friends so why not spend time exercising.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


1. Come to a complete stop
2. Empty yourself of expectiations
3. Name your Work
4. Trust your resources
5. Embrace the present moment
6. Return with Strength

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Aha moment: Mindfulness

Yesterday my friend Tara and I were talking on the phone about the practice of mindfulness and began to focus on mindfulness in conversation. I ended up having a big aha moment when I finally understood something my pastor was trying to explain to me last year. I had asked him about ways to practice listening and improve those skills. He suggested treating listening as a form of meditation. After Tara and I defined mindfulness in conversation it made me realize that this is what he was talking about.

A way to put this that is easier to understand is that listening should be done in a state of mindfulness. This can be done by:
1. Clearing one's mind
2. Actively listening to the other's speech and not thinking about a response while they are talking.
3. Practice intuitive response, listen to one's intuition for speech, silence, and don't enter parts of the conversation with haste.
4. Pay attention to tone, volume, tempo, body language, settings, and environment.

There are definitely more details to mindful conversation then we were able to identify in our 30 minute talk. I am sure that it is about as complex as the most difficult martial art forms.
I am sure I could write much more about this so I will conclude this for now; I am glad I had that talk yesterday because it really freed up a lot of mental energy I didn't realize I was using.