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Archive for January, 2015

Sunday musings 1/18/15

Sunday musings (dogs up early)…

1) James Baldwin. “You have to go the way your blood beats.”

2) Charlie. “[F]ree countries are for peoples strong enough to defend them.”

3) Open. The CrossFit Open is now taking registrations. The Judges Course is available to all L1′s. Are you in? Of course you are! I sure am.

The Open serves multiple purposes, first among which is to identify those athletes who will compete to become the “Fittest on the Planet.” You and I are not in that group. Not even close. Should we bail on this incredible experience because we will not make Regionals? No way. The second reason to be in this game is to measure yourself against a couple hundred thousand like-minded souls across the planet. Take your fitness pulse, as it were.

To that end I for one am beyond pumped to see the Scaled Division announced this year. Frankly, the whole “get one rep” thing so you aren’t knocked out was/is less fun, at least for me. I’m old, skinny, and slow, but I’m in the game, even more so with the scaled division. And that’s the third reason to register. For a few bucks you get to be part of the conversation, joined for 5 weeks with maybe a million us enjoying the challenge. Raise a glass with us after the 15.X every Friday.

See you on the Leader Board!

4) Expectation. I have fought the beast that is expectation my entire life. As a father and a spouse I have tried my very best to teach my family the dangers inherent in having expectations. They can be small and trivial (a special flavor will be available at the Scoop), or so meaningful that they approach the existential (a best friend will honor a commitment). Writ large or small, expectation is inextricably tethered to its alter ego, disappointment.

The expectation that others will share your beliefs is particularly dangerous, especially if doing a right or good thing is part of your very DNA. The more common manifestation of this trap is expecting another to work as hard as you do, or care as much about the quality of an outcome in a shared endeavor. It doesn’t matter whether you are north or south on the org chart, either.

Try as one might, we all have expectations of others, even if they are buried so deeply in our subconscious we are barely aware of them. When these expectations are not met the disappointment is all the more powerful for the ambush involved. The action of the other is typically so far beyond the reach of expectation that it shakes your belief system.

Sitting quietly last night I contemplated just such an ambush and the need to be in the company of one for whom I had one of those deep, hidden expectations. Sadly and completely unexpectedly, unmet. My disappointment is like a bruise on my soul. How, if at all, should I respond?

After all, I am aware that people have expectations of me as well.

I’ll see you next week…

Mindful Living Courtesy of Stuart Scott

It’s still January. My birthday has come and gone and I now sit at another milestone age, 55. As is my wont I will embark on several months of data collection on myself, a sort of 5 year/50,000 mile check on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. New Year’s Resolutions are easy every 5 years because this is in motion. A visit to my internist, various and sundry bloodwork, and trying to find time for a thallium stress test and a colonoscopy are the medical items on tap. I will assess my fitness regimen in an effort to maintain my CrossFit-induced gains while simultaneously reducing any injury risks. “Peak and Tweak” as my friend Bob is saying for us 1960 Birthdays.

Sadly, I’ll probably have to program some training that is specific for the run on the stress test, but that’s another story.

This “Housekeeping Resolution” does not preclude any other, meaningful reflections. Stuart Scott, the well-known ESPN anchor, won’t see 55; he passed away last Sunday at age 49 after a very public 7 year battle with cancer. I was thinking about him the other night just before Beth and I turned in. The day had been uneventful if you measure your days by notable happenings, but I’d spent my day doing things I enjoy, surrounded by people who generally make me happy. I told my “Better 95%” just that as we drifted off to sleep, the voice of the person who makes me happiest the last sound I heard that day.

Here’s Stuart Scott articulating my single additional Resolution better than I can: “I am acutely aware at most moments when I’m doing something that I love that it is a precious thing. Every moment that I am doing something that I love, I will stop and I will take a conscious acute mental moment to say, ‘This is living. This is why I am living.’ And I [will] have them regularly.”

That in a nutshell is precisely what I plan to do. I will be mindful of those tiny moments of happiness, not just epic events. I will continue to seek those things and those people who make me happy, not just try to avoid those that don’t. More than even that I will try to be mindful of my opportunities to bring a bit of happiness, or somehow reduce happiness, in those same people who make me so happy.

Those moments and be yours, too. Don’t miss them.

 

CrossFit Trendy?

 

A quick thought to start the new year: I saw a headline the other day on some site or other: “What will you do for exercise when CrossFit is no longer trendy?”

Seriously.

No matter how you slice it, there is nothing trendy about CrossFit except perhaps for the fact that it, and we, continue to be a trend. Even the scaredy cats in all of the mainstream medical organizations have come around to the realization that in order to reap the benefits from exercise it’s necessary to–you know–exercise. Get out of breath. Sweat. Pick up heavy stuff once in awhile. Even those numbskulls over at ACSNMOUSE, or whatever, are calling for 2015 to be the Year of the Bodyweight Workout.

I dunno about you, but it all sounds suspiciously like CrossFit to me.

Here’s the bottom line, as my Dad (not so surprisingly) likes to say: CrossFit is NOT trendy. CrossFit, the General Physical Preparedness fitness program/prescription is geared toward creating not only fitness but health. Approaching what you find here on CrossFit.com (or in almost every CrossFit Affiliate) with a combination of curiosity and commitment and a dash of humility will provide you with a lifetime’s worth of better everything. That, in my book, is trendsetting.

Wanna label CrossFit trendy? Sure. Why not? Everyone wants to be part of the cool group, me included. I was part of the early adopters, the OG’s. We had that bond that comes from discovering the “next big thing” first, before it became trendy. If I’m trendy now I’m good with that. I did the coolest thing before it was cool!

If trendy means CrossFit is somehow not gonna be cool anymore, I’m OK with that, too. As I see it that means we, CrossFit, have won. No longer trendy would mean that CrossFit is acknowledged as the standard against which all subsequent trendy fitness programs will be measured.

Renegade, paradigm-shifting movements don’t do trendy, they do work.

 

New Year’s Day and Forgiveness

New Year’s Day. Brand new year. In the general scheme of things, in reality that is, time marked by a calendar is one of the most artificial constructs yet created by man. Beth’s mare is blissfully unaware that it is January 1st; she knows only that she is 6 months away from her first foal.

Indeed, men and woman across the globe have not even settled on a single calendar, let alone a single New Year’s Day.

Yet this concept, the start of something new, is like many of our uniquely human constructs in that it allows us to consider a course of action that may actually be unique to us. On this first day of the new calendar year we can choose to take, or give, a Mulligan. A re-do or a re-boot. We can choose to purposely and purposefully walk away from a memory that should be better than it was. We can seek to un-do the effects of an ill-advised word or action by apologizing and asking for forgiveness.

More importantly we can reach out, make the first move, and offer forgiveness.

Memories are funny things, aren’t they? As I wrote last week or the week before, left to our own devices what we remember is mostly how we felt at any given time or place or happening. Beth took a really cool pic at lunch the other day with some of our kids utilizing her mad selfie skills (she’s not quite as on board with the “just remember, don’t click” thing as I am). Lunch made me giggle, made me proud, made me a little bit sad. What will I remember, with or without the epic panoramic selfie, next year or 5 or 10 or 20 years from now?

There’s a woman my age with whom I went to high school who is still very angry about how she remembers being treated as a young woman. I was in school with this group of classmates for only 3 years so my memories of my high school mates are more shallow than the kids I grew up with. Pretty OK high school memories to be truthful, but my young life was admittedly a smooth sail for the most part. I’ve oft said that I was a bit too pleased with myself as a youngster and a young man, but I’d like to think that a life’s course that has forged a very real sense of humility has sanded away some of the edges and armor that prevented me from seeing any part I may have played in her unhappiness. We only remember our own emotions, but time with all of our emotions tends to open us up to the realization that others may remember stuff, and us, differently.

And so we come to a New Year’s Day, an artificial starting line created by a creature set apart by our ability to choose. Why not take advantage of this day, however artificial it might be, and choose to let go of as much unhappiness as you can? Choose to forgive those who may have contributed to that unhappiness, especially if they have grown to be someone for whom the very thought of causing pain in another brings on a deep, abiding sorrow. Start anew. Fresh. Why not?

Remember, as arbitrary and contrived as it may be, January 1st always starts with “Happy” and New”.

I’ll see you next year…

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