Thank you Gretchen Rubin!

I have been struggling, truly struggling, with getting things done and figuring out what motivates and drives me to get things done. I once wrote in a private blog, “It’s a decision to do! Nothing more. Nothing less.” I went on to say that if I wanted to change my diet or drink more water, I didn’t have to throw out my junk food or rearrange my family’s diet – I just did it. It’s the decision. In those moments when I make the decision I feel unstoppable.

Here’s the thing. There are times when I can’t make myself do stuff. I say I need to do something and then I go take a nap or I clean the house. I refuse to hold myself to the work. I struggle and more importantly I suffer. Nothing gets done and all of a sudden I hate myself.

So I try something else.

Maybe if I get someone to hold me accountable I can get myself to follow through. NOPE. That fails, too. It’s awful! The “have to” gets in my way. I start, but just fizzle and I fizzle quickly. And then, I Suffer.

What the hell is wrong with me? I know I can motivate. I know I can do crazy things and be disciplined and drive and make things happen. Why can I do grand things sometimes and at other times I can’t make myself do stuff and other people can’t make me or inspire me either? Even being contrarian doesn’t work for me. If someone says “I bet you can’t!”, I shrug it off and don’t really care.

DAMN IT! What will inspire me to “DO”? This has been my curse.

Until yesterday.

I was listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast and he was interviewing Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen explained there are four tendencies that form out of the question, “How do I respond to expectations?” It turns out that this simple word, expectation, is THE player in what gets people to “DO”. I was interested but not overly so.

Towards the end of the podcast Gretchen came back around to tendencies and asked Tim what he thought his tendency was. Tim is a Questioner and as they discussed the traits in detail I finally understood my husband! I was so excited, while I walked around the lake listening to the podcast, that I actually clapped my hands when they said something that totally explained who he was. I was blown away. I’ve never come across such an on point personality trait description.   I had fallen down the rabbit hole!

Sadly, the only tendency they didn’t discuss was the Rebel and I had a feeling I was one. So, as I often do, I Googled the Rebel tendency and downloaded the book on Audible.

As I learned about the Rebel I started to become super excited to have this awareness of my tendency and at the same time I was terrified. This description of a Rebel from Gretchen’s book really rang true for me: “You can’t make me and neither can I”.rebel

What was I suppose to do with that? I told my husband about our tendencies, from my limited understanding, and his response to mine was, “wow, that sounds really childish.” My heart was broken and I told him so. He wasn’t attacking me but he was saying exactly what I tell myself in my head every time someone tells/asks me to do stuff. First, I react internally with “Well since you want me to, I won’t.” and then another part of me kicks in and says “That’s crazy, you sound like a 5 year old.” And the dissonance begins.

Of course my husband’s compassion kicked in and we started to look for solutions. He wants my success and fulfillment as much as I do. “Maybe if you look for something you want out of the experience?” he said, “like when I wash dishes I think of how much I like the warm water on my hands.”

My husband is so wise. As I listened to the Audible version of The Four Tendencies today that’s pretty much the lynch pin for a Rebel. I have to do it because I want to do it. It has to come from me, but in a way that is a want, not an internal expectation. If I expect myself to do something, I rebel against myself. I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.

I could go on and on about this, but for now I want to learn more about how our reaction to expectations affects our actions. I believe this idea and the four tendencies Gretchen Rubin describes are a powerful framework for self understanding. To find out your tendency go to gretchenrubin.com.

So once again, thank you Gretchen! You have no idea the clarity you have brought to my thoughts, feelings and daily life. I feel empowered and creative and I really owe it all to your understanding of expectations and the fact that you’ve shared it with the world.

“You can’t spell rebel without the BE!” I love it!

 

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You’ve possibly heard that once you start going for what you want, the universe starts giving you insight, help and direction along the way. 

Or if you don’t believe the universe is helping you, then run with the science that your RAS (Reticular Activating System) starts filtering the things you see.  You start noticing more of the things that will get you where you want to be, or to what you want to get.

Example:
If you want to buy a new white Jeep Wrangler, you will start seeing them everywhere you go.  Jeeps will just pop up.  It’s not that there are more Jeeps on the road all of a sudden, its just that your RAS isn’t deleting the data before that data is conscious anymore.  You want a Jeep and the brain says “well, we’ll give you all the information that shows up about Jeeps.”

Me personally, I like the sound of the universe or a muse helping me out.  It keeps me humble. You choose what works for you.

Anyway, I was scheduling an appointment with a colleague to talk about a new fun project and my auto-correct changed “my meetup” to “mutt meetup“.  During my hiking meetup (the one I texted about in the previous sentence), I mentioned my auto-correct and my hiking buddy and I  started riffing about what a “mutt meetup” could possibly be.

First it was a meetup for those dog obstacle courses you see on t.v. sometimes.  You know where the dogs run through tunnels and weaves through sticks and over teeter-totters while the human directs them in the fastest manner possible.  You’ve seen these, right?

Well of course, me being a movement freak, I added that people would also be doing the course with their pet and sense it’s a Mutt meetup there would be no skill required.  That’s right, the humans have to crawl through the tunnel and weave through sticks and balance over teeter-totters.  Can you imagine it?  How much fun would that be?   I imagine lots of laughs and comradery, while getting exercise with your pets.

But that wasn’t the end of it. We kept going.

Next, it was timed

Then it was, maybe I would need to invite a dog obstacle course trainer to the meetup. Because people might want their dogs to actually weave through the poles

Then it was oh and we need to get people moving better so they don’t get hurt. So there’s another adventure to play with.

And then…

It was crazy all of the ideas that popped up from a random auto-correct, and it was so much fun to let the ideas run wild.

So here is the point to this crazy aside.  Are you trusting that maybe, just maybe the universe sometimes uses auto-correct to send you ideas?  Maybe?

If so, you may never look at auto-correct the same again.

You’re welcome!

Control
Verb
a) to exercise restraining or directing influence over.
b) to have power over

We take the word control for granted most of the time.  We believe we control our time, our work, the direction of our lives.  At times we attempt to control other people, our children and circumstance.  We use terms and phrases like quality control, control variables, controllers, and self control as ways we can express how we exert power over things.

On an unconscious level control, or perceived control, can play into how we feel about our life and the world.  Take expectations for example, the energy associated with the word expectation, added to this unconscious idea of control, can make us feel like victims of circumstance.  The very word expectation implies that we have control not only of ourselves, but of other people, environments and circumstances.  It makes us believe that a plan will always go perfectly, and when it doesn’t we are frustrated at best or compete failures at worst. With expectations we either get what we plan and move on ignoring our great luck, or the day is a complete wash (disaster) because it didn’t work out as we expected.

A better choice when planning and executing is to have the energy of intentions instead of expectations.  Intentions give us a map to follow to get to a goal, but unlike expectations, detours are allowed.   When we do things from an  energy of intention we are super happy when things work out perfectly.  With intentions we know we only have control over ourselves and that many variables must fall into place to be successful. When things don’t work out perfectly, we are open to modifications to reach our end goal and we are entertained by the adventure.  With intentions we really enjoy and appreciate when things work out perfectly and when they don’t we enjoy the ride.  In making this small choice of energy (intention over Expectation) we find more satisfaction with our day and our choices.

Real life example:

I was getting some family and professional photos taken with my horses and I decided it would be fun to get a photo of me meditating on the butt of a free (no ropes, no saddle, no nothing for control) horse.

The Goal: photo, horse free in the pasture, me on horses butt cross legged, meditating.

If I use expectation: I’m assuming control of the environment, the horse (who I remind you I want completely free), the photographer, the weather, other horses, my hair, my clean cloths… you get the point.  I may even think that, since I’ve trained my horse well and I’m a good rider and the photographer is a professional we can pull this off fairly quickly.  I may expect I jump on and BAM picture perfect.

I may even test to make sure my horse will let me sit on her butt.  If the test works my expectations might be even higher.

This, perfect, picture was taken while I was testing to see if it was even possible.
Thank goodness I’m not an expectation girl.

Things of course don’t always go as planned with horses, I think they enjoy playing with us if we have expectations (yes, I’m anthropomorphizing my horse).  Expectations are a bad plan especially with so many variables including a very playful and mischievous horse.

Luckily I went in with intentions, not expectations.  Here is what happened.

First few attempts she wouldn’t stand still.  So I moved to physical control.

Of course when I let her go she walked off

That’s cool, I can flow with that.  And we got a great picture when she stopped, except….

Horse butt in the background.  Grrr. 

So I went back to basics.  I wasn’t going to try and control her as much.  I was going to put her in an area I liked and wiggle on her back, while she is free until she stands still.

 

This worked because this is what she knows.  It’s how I trained her in the first place

 

And finally, with patience and humor we get the perfect shot.

Here is the takeaway.  We can’t control everything, nor should we try. We can only control ourselves and the way we decide to be in our world.  We can make plans, they can be really good and sometimes they work out perfectly!  Instead of expecting perfect to happen,  really celebrate and enjoy those times. If you think about it, those perfect plans are really hard to create.  Go into your plans with a sense of adventure, with intentions, and enjoy the ride as you create the, sometimes winding, path to your goals.  By controlling what you can, and enjoying the rest you won’t feel like the victim you will have control where it matters most.  In YOU.

Special thanks to Kim Beer at Midnight Productions, inc. For taking all of these really fun photos!

Image  —  Posted: April 4, 2017 in Life
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Last year, while we were at the beach, my husband captured a photo of me resting after attempting to skim board.  That same day, before we went out in the morning, he kindly asked if I wanted a chair to sit on.  I declined stating “I practice what I preach so I’m going to sit on the sand.  All I need is a towel.”  Then he listened patiently while I started riffing about how it would be hypocritical of me to sit in a chair on the beach when I’m all about natural movement.

He laughed and then started his little rap song.

SQUAT
I practice what I preach
I squat on the beach
natural movement is within your reach!

Of course one verse just won’t do so, he added another with the things that make me, uniquely me;  Star Wars (specifically Jedi skills), Equine Coaching, MovNat, and of course I’m always thinking of silly things to do with and on my horses.

I took a lot of courses
I meditate on horses
I am a student of both the light and dark forces!

I love my husband for his sense of humor and rhyme!

Burrs

What a mess!

My thoughts:

“It’s a beautiful day and I have the time… I need to get out and clean those burrs out of Karmel’s mane, forelock and tail. I’ve avoided the work long enough, and who knows when I’ll find time again. I…hate…BURRS!”

Off to the pasture I go…

As I’m working to clean the burrs out of Karmel’s mane I’m feeling very smart and Zen like because I’m thinking I’m so connected to the process. “Where am I?” I think to myself, “I’m here. Now.” I’m feeling pretty satisfied with myself.

Karmel suddenly stomps his left front hoof on the ground and then puts his nose to his hoof.

I stop and look… No bugs… I shrug and I’m back to my work and the thoughts that go with it. “So meditative! This is a great exercise I should do this more often, I love these active meditations… Maybe I should write something… What a good old horse… I wonder if we are going hiking this weekend…?”

Maybe 30 seconds later another stomp and the nose… again I shrug it off, “random fly”.

*More thoughts*

He does it again and I only half notice because my mind is babbling along again about how meditative this activity is and how present I feel.

Suddenly a big horse head bumps into me and I take a half step back. My mind stops… then one word “Ground”! It’s as if Karmel actually spoke it to me even though I know it was merely me becoming present for the first time all day.

After the head bump I’m awake and present. Finally, REALLY present.

I realize he’s been letting me know that I’ve been in my head and not at all with him this whole time. I take a deep breath and start to ground.

I feel my feet firmly on the ground next to his big, beautiful hooves. I note there’s a lot of weight in my toes, tension in my quads pulling on my kneecaps, my hips pushed forward and my hands feverishly working on his mane as if getting him clean were a race.

I stop, take another deep breath and correct my body alignment; moving my weight to my heels, relaxing my quads, and overall becoming aware from the tips of my toes to the top of my head.

Karmel takes a big deep breath, rolling his nose as he exhales (If you can imagine a big inhale followed by a low cat purr sound, that’s what he did).

I follow his lead and take a deep refreshing breath (without the purring) and become instantly present with him.

I slow my pace as I remove the burrs from his mane.

My eyes relax and I notice a pattern to removing the burrs. I can see what’s connected where and how best to remove one burr and then the next. I realize I’m cleaning him at a faster pace, but with slower physical motions. The resistance is gone…

Every now and again my horse teacher takes a big deep breath and I follow suit.

CleanThe thoughts, I didn’t even realize were taking over, subside.

Karmel is noticing my energy, as my mind wanders, and he keeps redirecting my attention over and over.

What a kind, patient teacher.

And then I’m done. He’s clean. And we are here. Now. At least for a moment.

Thank you for the lesson.

No… really, I am!

Sometimes it doesn’t come across that way. Friends and close introvertacquaintances often assume I am an extrovert.   This is a fair assumption because I’m very playful and outgoing and express extroverted quality in 2 main areas of my life.   The first is with those I am really close to. I’m playful in a very physical and childlike manner. I like to jump and dance and move and get other people to do it with me. Once you know me, and we find common ground I allow my authentic side to emerge.

The other area where I appear extroverted is when I’m in a leadership role. When I feel very comfortable in an environment or I’m running an event, I open up and work very hard to include everyone and make him or her feel at home.

You see, as an introvert, when I’m new to a situation or I’m the student I sit back, I observe and I attempt to be fairly invisible (although animals still feel my playfulness and want it to come out, but that’s another story). Being an introvert I know what it feels like to be outside looking in, to feel alone in a crowd, to feel lost and overwhelmed.  So when I am the leader I make sure to engage and make everyone feel at home, and help them feel safe, heard and connected.

That said, when an event or my “playtime” is done, I just need quiet. I need to shut down and recharge. I don’t want to go out all night; I definitely don’t want to be in environments where I have to yell to communicate. This is mainly because I’m physically incapable of the yelling part. My voice goes up an octave in pitch, but the volume is consistent.   Also, I love a deep conversation, and I find that talking and listening is difficult in a loud environment and this leaves the topics of conversation to general for my taste. Not to mention, if I’ve been going all day I’m physically and mentally done by evening. Nothing personal, it’s just the way it is.

So, for those that know me and even for those that are just meeting me, I know that I come across, quite often as extroverted. I’m high energy and a very positive person but I still need to recharge now and then. You may see me one day acting very quiet, contemplative and passive. Don’t worry, more then likely I’m not sad and nothing is wrong. I’m probably very happy, it’s just that I need some down time. I need to observe and listen and not bounce. Why?

Well…. because I really am an introvert!

newparadigmIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything and that’s mostly do to the self re-evaluations I’ve been up to.  I’ve finally slowed my role and I’m now interested in writing up what I’ve been working on and what I’ve been learning.  So the next few posts will be dedicated to this self discovery and experimentation.

Recently I read the book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall. This book tells two stories. One is a WWII story about how Cretan rebels and British officers kidnapped a Nazi General off of the, Nazi occupied, island of Crete. The second is an interlaced story about the importance of natural movements, like the ones the Cretans practiced and what made the kidnapping possible, and how modern exercise has lost it’s usefulness.

The books emphasizes the importance of the bodies ability to burn fat for fuel and in the later chapters I was fascinated by the idea of rewiring my body to burn fat instead of carbs as my main source of fuel.   The book and my curiosity led me to the Maffetone, 2-week carbohydrate intolerance, Test.

I’ve always stated that I NEED carbs. If I don’t get them my body feels weak and lethargic and I easily get low blood sugar and become a grouchy monster. So when I read that this TEST required me to drop carbs for 2 weeks I was skeptical, and I worried for my families sanity and safety. As I read more about the test and the method I became intrigued because the list of Carb intolerance symptoms were as follows:

Carbohydrate Intolerance Health Survey. (Some Common Signs and Symptoms):

  • Poor concentration or sleepiness after meals.
  • Increased intestinal gas or bloating after meals.
  • Frequently hungry.
  • Increasing abdominal fat or facial fat (especially cheeks).
  • Frequently fatigued or low energy.
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea.
  • Waist size increasing with age.
  • Fingers swollen/feeling “tight” after exercise.
  • Personal or family history of diabetes, kidney or gall stones, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol/low HDL, high triglycerides, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer.
  • Low meat, fish or egg intake.
  • Frequent cravings for sweets or caffeine.
  • Polycystic ovary (ovarian cysts) for women.

My first thought when reading this was, “whoa, wait!  This isn’t what I’m suppose to feel like after eating?” For me, these symptoms, were my normal relationship with food.  Well, with the exception of the cysts and part about diabetes and such.

I’ve never been one to play around with fad diets or extreme restrictions but I love the fact that Maffetone makes it very clear that the carbohydrate intolerance test is just that, A TEST! A person shouldn’t continue the restricted diet for more then 14 days and then after that each individual needs to pay attention to their body to create a healthy relationship with the level of carbs they can tolerate.  Maffetone also makes if very clear that the foods are restricted but a person should never let themselves be hungry.  If you’re hungry eat!

SIDE NOTE:  My mom is currently taking this test and she is having trouble letting go of our societies current model that one must be hungry and monitoring calories to be eating right and not over-indulging.

I’m all for experiential experiments so I chose a date and took the test. As of today, I finished the test and I’m in my first follow up week where I’m slowly adding carbs back into my diet.

 

Results:

OUTSTANDING!

With the exception of Day 2 (lightheaded when I would stand up) and day 3 (felt like I had lead weights in my shoes), where I was withdrawing from carbs I’ve felt amazing! Here is what I noticed:

  • I lost 5 total pounds in 2 weeks , some is water weight some is fat. I’m not a heavy person and I mostly carry vanity weight; the weight that is healthy but hides the great 6pack abs everyone wants.  I was pleasantly surprise at the change in my body composition
  • I’ve had a ton of energy that was and is consistent all day
  • No mood swings and no feelings of low blood sugar
  • No headaches, stomach cramps, or bloating
  • I was never hungry. I ate when I wanted and then didn’t think about food most of the day.

 

Downside for me:

  • Since the test removes processed foods completely there is a lot of cooking and cleanup. I’ve always been one that when I want food I want it now! My go to foods that are quick were gone (even my fruit snacks). I did find some quick foods though: cucumber, almonds, cashew, carrots, and cheese.
  • Can’t really eat out without breaking the test in some way.
  • A lot more shopping.   Fresh food means buying what you will eat within a few days
  • I wasn’t super creative with my meals so I got a bit bored with the foods and would stare at my sons cereal box longingly
  • One day I had crazy cravings for something sweet.  At one point I was eyeing my son’s Frosted Mini Wheats as if my life depended on eating them.  I held strong though.  If you have the option it’s helpful to clean out any food you can’t have.

 

What I’m learning:

That’s for next time…

 

If you are interesting in the idea of burning fat as fuel go to http://philmaffetone.com/what-is-the-maffetone-method/

There is a lot of information including fitness suggestions, recipes (for after the test) and the MAF TEST.

Or google “fat for fuel” and you will find a ton of triathlete sites that suggest this style.

I definitely recommend the test for anyone. The fact that it’s so short and simple (but not easy) to follow makes it a worthwhile reset for the body.

 

Unitl next time…