The Widow’s Lament in Springtime

Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
Thirtyfive years
I lived with my husband.
The plumtree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
to go there
and fall into those flowers
and sink into the marsh near them.

– William Carlos Williams

CultFit Shine

Tomorrow Comes Today

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts-

I love practicing yoga, alone, mid ride in an open field or a hidden park off the trail. I love the way these quiet moments make me feel spiritually, mentally and physically. I love returning to my breath after a spirited sprint, the practice of mindfulness after being harassed in traffic. I love improvising poses outside of  a yoga studio – Getting creative and inventing new poses like: Sore Back/Hips 1 and 2, old man standing on one leg pose, picking ear wax pose, happy cyclist pose many poses, all of them good, even when they become challenging

There is this one intricate pose though that I just can’t get seem to get my spirit around, metaphorically and my heart around, literally. That pose is called Tadasana. Tadasana is infinitely easy if you your mind likes to wander hither and yon, like mine does. Tadasana is extremely difficult for me to surrender to during a mid ride yoga session, and extremely embarrassing to watch if you’re looking at me from the swings.

Being the forgetful* dude that I am. I avoided Tadasana, altogether, or I would fleeting pass through it – swiftly moving into old dude bending over in a park early one morning pose.

Suddenly I remember a few words a dear friend recently shared with me: Return to you – Return to your breath.

We become stronger, more confident, when we not only face the difficult “things” in our lives, but embrace them.

Daily Meditation:

As unmasculine as this may sound, Tadasana has become my best cycling buddy, well second to riding with my Son.

CultFit Luck

In between Your Choice

I picked up a new language a few months ago. It was just laying on the ground, dirty, so I scooped it up and popped it in my mouth

On Wednesday I wrote a post discussing self-talk. A post in which I trimmed a major theme out, primarily because it was aimed at self coaching for athletes and dare I say – ultra competitive folks. One of the issues I struggle with, daily – having once been über-competitive, is introducing mindfulness, awareness, compassion and self-love as important tool(s) to reaching your full potential, in whatever you choose to do.

I would like to thank A Somewhat Likable Girl and Fit Recovery for twisting my arm a little bit! I’m not one to back down from an opinion, although when it comes to doling out advice? I like to tread lightly, for each of us are truly unique and special, and I mean “special“. Warning: A healthy dose of self-serving advice and bloated opinions lie ahead ….

The portion I edited out

It amazes me how much time, effort, and money we pour into training for “whatever“. Thinking that better equipment and shoes will help us break through the ultra marathon wall, typically at mile 43.5. Cyclist, obsess over saving a few grams, for what? Four meager grams will not help your torrid pace near the finish. Yoga folks … Fabulous new pants and a see through crop top will not help you hold a pose longer – That’s the truth!

How does this tie into finding equanimity, self-talk, mindfulness etc.? We are keenly aware that competing and training, aerobic exercise, yoga and lifting weights are effective ways to relinquish the anger and frustration that can fester when we “Zip it Up” rather than fully expressing ourselves in the moment. Physical activity and competing can be a pathway to equanimity, like any type of meditation. Although, I feel we are missing out on the best part.

During competition, yoga – brutally honest moment: I have seen more people comparing and competing in yoga class than at the start of CAT 1 Crit. A topic for another day More so than letting out aggression and relieving stress. Positive self-talk and personal coaching allows us to deconstruct the elements of what happened, let’s our aggression escape the moment, allowing us to resolve conflicts in a magnanimous way.

For those of you reading who may not know – I fully have surrendered to myself and embrace ahiṃsā. <- This is where I stopped, before a long-winded rant ensued.

Daily Meditation:

What in the world am I talking about? Remember who you are, that’s it. Remember that you a special person doing something you love to do, but please keep in mind that YOU are not the ACTIVITY. Positive self-talk and coaching affords us the time to reconnect with our humanness. WE are not our GOAL(s), no matter how important they are to you. I’m pleading with you not to lose this perspective. Instead, cultivate it within your self coaching, self-talk and whatever. Having goals and competing can make us pretty damn cool, but not as cool as the all-encompassing, creative and mysterious universe to which we already belong. Knowing your true self in this crazy world assures you of finding serenity, even at four in the morning, rain pouring down, butterflies in your quivering stomach Mile maker 43 cannot come soon enough!

Be well this weekend and please take care.

CultFit Heart

One Too Many Mornings

Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity-

Three laps into a grueling mid summer Twilight Criterium. Sweat, pouring from your brow, the last of your patience – exhausted – three laps ago. All the training, the race prep, the money and time spent for this brilliant moment And who the hell does this Mustached Cinelli Straddling Punk think he is?!? This Phil Wood spinning bastard better get his ass to the back of the line!!!

Your sympathetic nervous system rages, the surge of adrenaline as you grit your teeth, our fight or flight response shifts instantly into high gear. Equanimity, our parasympathetic nervous system, is waiting back at the car, or is it? There is a way to gently pull the brakes on your fight or flight response.

My “trick” to finding equanimity during such stressful and annoying moments, is to simply keep the concept of equanimity at the front of my mind (not in the boot of the car). We all know the feeling of anger taking over our bodies, causing our minds to wander and to spin out of control. Our breathing becomes more shallow, our hearts begins to race, we feel the pressure building behind our eyes, goosebumps, a nervous twitch, the veins in our temples – pulse rapidly.

Whenever and wherever I feel my fight or flight alarm begging to sound? I stop to take a deep breath and place a mental bookmark, a bookmark that reminds me that now is the time I need to bring equanimity back to the forefront of my true-self.

Daily Meditation:

Here’s the no BS deal folks: Training and running a marathon is easy, an ultra distance gravel bike ride is a mere jot around the park in comparison to consciously keeping equanimity at the forefront of our minds. Practicing and learning how to bring evenness to your mind and spirit – Equanimity – Takes a lot of work! Although, at the end of the day … Its pretty damn cool to sit back, chill, watching the world unfold before our eyes. Without lamenting about some cyclist, during some silly ride.

CultFit Calvin

Where (it) All Starts

When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points-

Seva, (service) has come to define my true self while walking along this spiritual path “thing“. Embracing Seva allowed me to tap into my personal growth and creativity, or lack there of at certain times – I can’t possibly be the only person in the world who forgets their right from their left?!?.

During each step of my journey, I believe I need to be sharing in some shape or form, whether it’s with a close friend in need of comfort, writing – blogging or the willingness to help a complete stranger. I sincerely believe it’s important that we take notice of the tiniest actions in our lives, realizing that we are all in this world – together. Life is not about acquiring as many “things” as we can  Life is about actively contributing to the whole thing.

This thing being Gaia.

Daily Meditation:

When we take time to give openly, to listen with an open heart, to love equally, to heal kindly, to teach passionately, to be compassionate in daily life? We are expressing mindful love through Seva. That’s about as simple as it gets folks.

Take care and be well!

CultFit Connected