To Push Through The Pain? Or Not

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It’s 2:20 am and the biffy is calling my name.  Sadly. . . I can’t get out of bed. Every muscle in my body hurts; abs, thighs, arms, neck, you name it.  I was not in a serious car accident, no.  I did not run a triathlon.  Nor, did I do hard physical labor all day.

I worked out this week. . . not once, but TWICE!

About every other month, I decide I need to get in better shape, ummmm. . . I mean, in shape.  I usually only walk a few of times a week during the school year otherwise, so when these urgent calls from my body tell me to pay attention and strengthen up, I tend to jump right in and try to fix it.  Too much, too soon, too much pain.  Then, what do you think finishes off the cycle?  Yep, I rest and kinda quit.  And, the cycle continues.  Been goin on fer years now.

I wasn’t always this way.  Throughout my first 40 some years of life, I was obsessed with exercise, my eating, weight, and perfection.  Then,  a surgery that put me down.  I softened.  In a good way.  And, I started liking who I was becoming.

So, now, almost 50, I’m listening more to my body and she’s telling me I have zero core strength, I’m pretty weak and my flexibility is nadda.  But, keep up the walking – daily, Lady.  Oh and by the way, your arms are starting to look pasty and, well. . . whatever, you are almost 50.

Well, that kind of talk gets me riled.  I become driven to fight back, so I pop in those DVD’s and do everything that perky young thing tells me to do.  Push-ups? Sure.  Squats?  You got it.

Here’s the rub.  Now, my body is cuuuuu-rying!  First, she wants it, then she doesn’t.  She says to push through it and then she says to rest, it’s too much.

My daughter Lauren, who is 25 and a wellness coach, scolds me, “No pain, no gain, Mom. Push through it.  You gotta keep it up or you won’t see any results.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I tell her.  I’m her worst client.  But, I can be that way to her.  I’m her mother.  She rolls her eyes.  I’m sure I frustrate her. She says these words with love, but it’s my own voice that I hear in the background. Yes, that’s her in the photo above.

My friend who is my age consoles me, “Shar, we aren’t 25.  We’ve been down that road.  Accept who you are.  We are ok.”

I love my friend because she understands me and where I’ve been, and my daughter IS only 25.  I should rest.

But, the whole world screams, “NO EXCUSES! YOU ARE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL.”

It bothers me that I even spend time thinking about this when I could be doing something constructive, like writing or reading.  It all seems so ego-driven.

Bernice. (said like Seinfield says Newman)

I’ve grown wiser with age and have learned to not strive for the perfect anything anymore.  I just want to feel good; mind, body, heart and soul.  If any of these “friends” is left out, the others suffer.  It’s a constant state of mindfulness I need to be in, always checking in with each.  Wait, I hear a small voice of reason. . .

“Just move your body, Shar.  It doesn’t matter what you do.  Move.”

Aw, somebody with sense.  Heart and Soul are speaking up for Joy, my body.

I think I’ll just go for a walk today and do a little yoga. 🙂

Who do you listen to?  Do you push through and work through the pain?  Or, do you rest – and forget what you started?

(And, this doesn’t just pertain to exercise, you know. . . )

Shari 🙂

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What the Internet is Doing To My Productivity

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What the Internet Has Done To My Productivity

There are currently 11 tabs open on my mac.  Before 10:00 am.  (Yes, this is a fragment.  I know.  I’m making a statement.)

It’s Saturday morning, 6:45 am.  A rediculous -26 degrees below zero in frigid northern MN.  I’m thinking that I am going to get a boatload of tasks checked of my to-do list today because I’m not stepping foot out into that danger zone outside.  Cleaning, writing, school work, decorate the tree and maybe even begin some Christmas baking.  I’ve got English Toffee on my mind.

Because of the mouse that I BELIEVE ran across my face this morning as I was pulling out my REMs at 6:30am, I first go to my facebook page and post this trauma to my status.  Childhood friends console me.  Teaching colleagues and relatives were as mortified as I was.  Former students from my first year teaching appear to reminisce.  Community friends offer solutions:  peppermint oil or cats.  My daughter scolds me in that I need to wash my bedding.

Knowing I should NOT log onto facebook before noon on a Saturday, yet realizing I’ve already broken my cardinal rule, I continue to peruse facebook status’, commenting and clicking on intriguing links that grab my now distracted mind.

A fb friend posts Steven Pressfield’s Writing Wednesday post on  Managing Your Time.  Whoa.  That is the Universe speaking to ME right now, so I’d better surf over there and find out how to best do that!

Pressfield relives a narrative that makes me chuckle because I live the same one, but these are the words that I write down to remember from his post:

“You have to run your day. You can’t let your day run you.

 You must roll out of bed each morning with an unshakeable focus and intention. Your novel, your start-up, your movie. That’s your day. That’s why you’re here.

 You can’t yield to distractions and temptations. You must be like the Blues Brothers.

 You’re on a mission from God.

 Who is in charge of your day? You are!”

Ok.  He is right.  As soon as I get off here, I’m going to start some writing.  But first, I’m going to tweet this blog post on Twitter.  It’s too good to lose and others will benefit from his wise words.  Pressfield wrote the War on  Art. The man speaks volumes. He knows a thing or two about productivity and resistance.

Once on Twitter, I come upon a tweet that has caught my attention.  Cathy Mere tweets that everyone should take time to read the tweets on #nerdlutions.  “Hmmm. . . what is this?  I’d better check this out as it must be too good to miss.” I click my way over there.

I believe “#nerdlutions” was started by Christopher Lehman, but perhaps the term was derived by Colby Sharp, but I’m not 100 percent sure, needing to give credit to where credit is due.  It seems “#nerdlutions” is defined as committing to doing something or some things for 50 days.  There are no rules.  Just make sure it makes you happy.

Of course, I’m a sucker for these things.  I’m in.  Being a part of this amazing  Twitter community is the draw.

I commit to 30 minutes of writing and 30 minutes of “moving my body in some form of exercise” every day.

 I’d better retweet this and I’ll pin it to my Pinterest wall as one of my blog posts to read over and over so I don’t forget about it.

Whoa, stop the trains – once at Pinterest,  after pinning this blog post, of course other pinners who have pinned this to their wall as well, pop up.  My mind tells me that these are “like-minded” souls, so I need to check out their walls.

I click on a pin that pulls me in.  It leads me to Brainpickings, a site that I have become lost in before.  Uh-oh.  Don’t know if I should be here this morning, but I’m already astray.  The post I’m called to is by Maria Popova and titled,

The Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the “OK Plateau” of Performance & Personal Growth”,

 which leads me to a book, Maximize Your Potential, by Joshua Foer.  These words from the blog post resinate in my mind for awhile and a rereading in necessary:

“In the 1960s, psychologists identified three stages that we pass through in the acquisition of new skills. We start in the “cognitive phase,” during which we’re intellectualizing the task, discovering new strategies to perform better, and making lots of mistakes. We’re consciously focusing on what we’re doing. Then we enter the “associative stage,” when we’re making fewer errors, and gradually getting better. Finally, we arrive at the “autonomous stage,” when we turn on autopilot and move the skill to the back of our proverbial mental filing cabinet and stop paying it conscious attention.”

The problem most of us have is staying stuck in “autopilot”.  By staying in our comfort zone, we tend to ‘cease to care about improving’.  Our mind tells us, “Ah, this is good enough.” I begin to think about the areas in my life I am on autopilot on and which areas need some improvement.

After savoring this post, I navigate over to Amazon to toss the book into my cart.

I don’t think I have to tell you what happens once I get there.

After losing two hours, I shut my laptop, I begin to wonder if I am crazy.  Am I alone in this world of distraction?  Are there others out there that are not able to accomplish their daily to-do list because of our online communities and getting lost in the internet playground.  I know I can’t be alone.  I ponder that if this is a struggle for me, an educated adult, what are our children going through?

I glance over to my bookshelves next to my desk.  A book seems to pop out at me.

The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.    I don’t even remember buying this book.  I pull it off the shelf and realize I need to read this today.

After I post this to my blog today, an “unplugging” for the remainder of the weekend is in order.  I have things to do.  My mind needs a rest.  My husband will be home soon as ask me how my day was and what I did.  I’d better get something done, fast.

I might sleep with a sleeping bag on the dining room table tonight.  I don’t think mice can climb table legs.  You might say they can’t climb bed legs either, but when you blankets creep off to the floor, this creates a nice ladder for the little varmints to climb.

Did I mention I ran out of my decaf beans and perhaps ground caffeinated ones instead?  They were displayed in an unmarked glass jar.

Explains a lot.

Resistance. . . Big Time

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This blog has been so neglected that I had forgotten my WordPress password and had to create another one.  How does one keep track of all the ever changing passwords?  I started a list on my Notepad app on my phone, but geez, then I was fretting about losing my phone. So, I now have a password to enter my phone.  But, I gotta remember that now.  Pretty soon we’ll need passwords to open the fridge.  Actually, that might not be a bad idea. . . 

Once into my blog page, I’d forgotten how to get to my Dashboard to start a new post.  Feeling some apprehension about even attempting a post, Wanda shows up, my inner critic witch.  Dang, I hate it when she appears.  She whispers to me in her crackling, old hag of a voice,

“You are not even supposed to be here.  You left long ago.  No one is left here to even read your words.  You betrayed your readers enticing them to follow you and then, you take off.  What a cruel joke.”

She is right.  I despise her when she is right.  Why do I even listen to her?  What could I possibly even say that would bring readers back to me?  I give her that look.  You know the one, the one that a wolf gives when you are the last piece of meat.  

She’s rolling her eyeballs now. . .

Feeling the pressure of choosing a topic for this debut return, she then leans over and breathes into my ear:

“I don’t even think they’ve missed you.”

Wicked, wicked, wicked.  

I can handle a line or two from her, but when the words are sharp and grind my soul, I whip out my sword.

“BEWARE, Wicked Wanda Witch!!! What do you think NOW?”  I slay the air a bit to show her my strength.

She is scared.  You should see her.  Behind that fake barfing, I know she’s trembling.

I will show her she is wrong.  I do deserve to be here.  There are people who will listen to my words and open their hearts to me, even if I have strayed (it might just be my mother and my sister).  I’m going to change things up.  Find a focus.  Hone in on my voice.  I won’t know what I have to say until I say it, but when I do, I promise you, I will say it in a way that you will understand. And it will be real.

Oh, and by the way, I have the secret password.

“I am a writer.”

That’s all I need.

Shari 🙂