Slowing down, YA I said it !! Not words you hear often from these lips, and especially in my spin class. I’ve always been this way, even as a kid. And this has turned me into the KING of multi-tasking !
True Story, when I was in my twenties and part of my thirties, I was obsessed with making use of every minute of every day with something that either made money OR furthered my career. Almost never did I just stop and smell the roses. And I used to think it was a great trait !
Because I am not now, nor have I ever been much of a drinker, BUT LOVE to be social, I started bouncing in my early twenties right through the age of about 31. My thought process was “Why go to a bar and pay money when I can go to a bar and MAKE money !?!?” At the same time, I started to teach Group Exercise and was teaching as many as 10 classes a week. I had 7 regular and often would sub as many as 3. My mindset again was “Why pay to work out when I can GET paid to workout.” And did I mention that while doing all of this I was in a full time corporate job racing up that ladder of success lol ?? So YOU do the math…….pretty much every hour was accounted for and I thought I was doing all the right things to be able to settle down and retire early !!! Ya right !!
I’m now in my mid forties and no where near able to retire. And although I don’t work the door at night clubs anymore, and only teach two classes a week, I am still finding myself pushing the limits of multi-tasking. I take my laptop on vacations and work by the pool. I sometimes write you these posts while driving in the car and my kids are fast asleep (Using voice to text by the way, not manually typing). The old me would have thought myself BRILLIANT for making use of every second of every minute of every hour. But I am starting to realize in a very real way that this does more damage than good. My vacations that should send me home rested turn out to be anything but. And those posts that I write to you, when going back recently to read a few of them, I see they have the grammer of a 7 year old and spelling even worse. With respect to my posts, I have been writing stories for 25 years and my process has always been the same. An idea hits me, I email a few words to remind me (For instance this week I emailed “Slowing Down” to myself) and then on Sunday I retreat to my office while the kids are playing and I build on that idea or thought. But one thing I don’t do is read what I wrote. Almost NEVER !!! I am afraid if I do, I won’t like it. Or I will edit it and start losing the message. So I basically write the way I was told to write in a Tony Robbins conference which is to “write for the trash can,” Now he didn’t mean write garbage, he meant write without putting pressure on yourself and let it flow. But I am sure he said that assuming you would at least have someone spell check it for poor grammar lol I don’t even do that since I have no one to ask and the posts are usually already late in getting to Dennis, so I apologize, I need to post better written stories. Hopefully the message still gets through.
During the Christmas and New Year break I found myself in the same old pattern. I had a two page list of ALL that I was going to do over that 10 day period and no where on that list did it say “Take a Nap. Get some Rest. Reward yourself. Honor your body. Meditate. Etc.” It was all “Stuff” that should be done but if I didn’t would not have stopped the rotation of the earth. I tackled that list HARD for about a week until about 4:25 am on New Years day. NO NO NO, I wasn’t out drinking. I was home, alone in a freezing cold garage organizing all the stuff I piled in there during the last month. My contractor built an amazing home gym for me in one half of the garage and so all the stuff on that side was thrown to the other side. So no place to put my truck. And I was tired of this cold snap !! So I stayed home and cleaned =) By 4:30 I was in bed and crashed.
Like clockwork I woke at 7 am when I normally get the kids up for school and since they weren’t home and none of my clients were going to be calling me that day, I said “F” it and went back to sleep…….Till NOON !!!!!!! Let me just say I have not slept till noon since before I got married !! I jumped up and thought about how many things on my “list” hadn’t got done and felt like shit.
Within 30 minutes I was showered and dressed and standing in my not finished garage wondering where to pick back up. I then for the second time in a single day said “F” it and I walked into the house, threw on some flannel pants, and walked down to my movie room with two freshly popped bags of popcorn, a blanket, and sat there for 8 hours watching Netflix all by myself. It was the best and most relaxing 8 hours I have had in years !! No exaggeration…..YEARS !!!!!
Now being that I have taken 3 vacations since my divorce, and probably 6 or 7 while married, the reality that an 8 hour movie binge by myself in Colorado was WAAAAAAYYYYYY more relaxing than any of those vacations, was mind blowing to me. It was like even though I have recently begun to realize that GO GO isn’t always the best thing for me, it wasn’t until this day that it hit me how much damage I am doing to my mind, body, soul, and SPIRIT!!!! I mean, we are here on this earth to LIVE right ??? I gave up worrying about being a billionaire years ago. I know now that the riches that matter in my life are the two beautiful souls that sleep down the hall for me. And although I am not giving up the part of me that says I need to work my ass off so that they are taken care of, I think I am finally realizing that the occasional “F” it is okay every so often. Because no one can or should go 100% all of the time. It’s simply not healthy.
So now to tie it into Indoor cycling and how I teach. Hmmmmmm, it’s hard to say how I can adjust my teaching style only because the place I teach is probably the largest grouping of Type A’s that I have ever seen in one location haha. I have gotten to the point over the years that I rarely do long recovery songs. I generally do maybe one and then tell them to recover after all sprints. So in a 4 minute song, with three sprints, they have 90 seconds of sprints and 2.5 minutes of recovery (If they want it). I know, this is not how we are supposed to be teaching. But trust me when I say, in 20 years what I have found is when I throw on a mellow slow recovery song, 90% of them do a climb. If I do an upbeat dancy song, 90% of them are running out of the saddle. And my class is loaded with hills, sprints, resistance sprints, etc. I don’t do a fluff class ever. But I never worried about it because I feel I am doing what they (my class) expects from me. And to be honest, they are a reflection of how I have always lived. Totally forgetting to stop and smell the roses. I got to thinking and I don’t recall a single day during my marriage that I went up and took a nap “with” my ex wife. She took MANY, trust me lol, but I was usually using that time to work or fold laundry. No joke. To all the single ladies reading this, I’m the mythological dude that cooks, cleans, does laundry, yard work, shops with you and FOR you, and NEVER sits and watches sports, plays video games, or spends money at a booby bar lol Just saying, I got some good qualities 😉
Often when I write I try and think of a slick metaphor so people can visualize what I am trying to say. For this one I came up with this. I grew up in Maine and we had LOT’s of lakes. Not “reservoirs” but Lakes !! And as a kid, for some reason (and still today actually) I HATED to feel the seaweed touching my feet or legs. It was like a phobia and so if I could see murky bottom it would put me in almost a panic.
I remember hundreds of times having to get out to the dock to where my friends were and to do that I would need to jump in and swim like HELL kicking and paddling with my arms as fast as I could. The goal was to kick as fast as I could so that if I felt the seaweed touch my leg I would not notice it because I was kicking so hard. And being that I had taken a boat to the dock plenty of previous times, I knew about where I needed to be so that the bottom was out of view and no seaweed could get me lol So do me a favor and visualize me (or you) doing that. This way when I finish the story you’ll get the point. So are you thinking of it ?? Your kicking in a panic, doing your best stroke, and your eyes are closed so you don’t have to see that murky bottom. Heart is RACING both from the workout as well as the panic of touching bottom. You’re almost breathless and then you see that you’re beyond the “danger point” of touching bottom. You still have tons of momentum carrying you. Then what I would do is turn onto my back and glide across the water (well as much as a chunky kid can glide anyway. I’ve always been “big boned” lol). That feeling of being past the hard part and just enjoying the fact that I was there in a gorgeous lake and could now enjoy my time with friends without worrying about the murky bottom was awesome. Maybe it sounds stupid to someone who didn’t suffer this fear haha. I can only describe it as the same feeling one might get with heights or snakes. It literally bothered me that much haha
So the feeling this New Years day was just that. I have been kicking and paddling my whole life and ESPECIALLY the last 18 months trying to get my life back. My health back. My SELF WORTH back. And it took a lazy day and a whole lot of Netflix to finally remind myself that I’m gonna be alright……….but only if I slow down from time to time. Only if I turn over onto my back and glide every now and then. And the added bonus I got from sitting on my Ass that whole day was that I got to look around the house and see I got a pretty cool set up haha. I have 3 of everything and so why am I beating myself up for more “Stuff” when in reality I got more than enough stuff that I’m not slowing down to ENJOY as it is !!! I have lots to offer right now to my kids, my friends, and any future wife. I don’t need to spend every waking hour building and building and building. The down time matters too. The time to reflect matters too. And the time to HONOR yourself for the Journey and the progress you’ve made REALLY matters.
I haven’t always been a level headed mature adult through the last 18 months. Anyone who has gone through divorce can attest to this. There’s heart ache and pain and when you add to that infidelity you can imagine how easy it would be to be a name calling SOB from time to time. I’m not proud of everything I did or said through this, BUT I am proud of how I handled and maintained myself through most of it, probably close to 90%. But what my solo Netflix day got me thinking about was how proud I was of where I am today, right now, given all those shitty circumstance. And as for my health, I can be proud of that too !! Sure I am not where I want to be, BUT I could have thrown in the towel and given up but I didn’t. All I did was put it in Neutral for a while and so kudos to me for not being as far off as I thought I was.
The point…….oh how I find it hard to get to “the point” these days lol. These posts are so therapeutic for me and they get my mind going in so many places that it’s sometimes hard to narrow down to just one point. But let me try.
I think every one of you reading this can relate to much of what I have laid out. If teaching for you is a “job” then you probably aren’t reading this. If it’s a Passion for you, then you most likely are reading this post and many others because you’re trying to grow and make yourself better for your students. So if you’re reading this and can relate to doing some of these same things, than ask yourself how you can fix it. For me, I am going to give myself TWO “F” it days a month. No excuses and work will have to wait. I need these days like a car needs fuel. And what I KNOW will happen is that the other 28 days of the month will be way more productive because of the rest I gave my body, mind and soul. For class I will go back to my old way of doing recovery songs. I used to put on something inspirational (Try the Top Gun theme sometime, the instrumental one not Danger zone) and speak to them from the heart about why they deserve the recovery and to focus on the things they should be proud of in their life, the class, or anything that makes their heart swell. I used to remind them of the value to be able to “feel that pain” in their legs when so many are stuck in a bed or wheelchair. The gift they have to see, hear, and smell (well maybe not smell) all the things around them in that moment, because so many can’t. I’m going to try and get back to, I mean I AM GOING TO GET BACK TO inspiring my classes and helping shift their focus into gratitude and NOT just try to make them puke with endless sprints. Because to be honest I am tired of being tired. I am tired of focusing on where I failed and forgetting ro remind myself of where I succeeded. And the only way for me to do that is to turn over on my back every so often and let my body coast over to the dock. I’m worth it, YOU’RE worth it, and the people who come and invest 1 plus hours of their day with US are worth it.
Have an amazing week and I hope my message helped at least some of you !!
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