Come Dance with Me

I was at a party with a DJ a few weeks ago and I got out on the dance floor and had fun dancing. I was not concerned about doing it wrong, looking silly or looking uncoordinated. This may seem normal to you, but for me this was a huge breakthrough, although I had been building up to it for months without realizing it.

While at my coaching certification program workshops we danced to a few songs after lunch each day. This was a small group of about 20 people who were all going through the certification program together. I had never danced in public before and it felt very uncomfortable. But I basically had to participate so I did it with a high level of discomfort. I would secretly watch other people that I thought looked good and try to copy them. That actually worked reasonably well and it got a little easier with time.

Each student in my program also had to take up certain practices during the year. I was given the practice of dancing for five minutes each day, by myself, to soulful songs like Aretha Franklin’s Respect. I did this dancing practice most days for about 3 months. At our final coaching workshop, I felt much more comfortable dancing, but did not think too much about it.

But that buildup of practice with the small group and my daily five minutes made all the difference in the world at the recent party. I was able to let go of my story I have told myself for years that I am a bad dancer and just move with the music and have fun. It was liberating. There is clearly a lesson in here somewhere, but I am just enjoying that I can now have fun dancing.

Reframing Adventure

I am noticing that I am using the word “adventure” to describe my current state in life. It thrills me to realize that I am in an adventure right now, as I have a belief that my life has been lacking enough adventure.

My default definition of adventure is an epic outdoor experience, like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or riding your bicycle across America. Another option is a lengthy travel experience like touring southeast Asian with just your backpack.

But I am in an adventure of a different kind. I have given notice at my safe corporate job and am launching my own coaching business. When I originally started to pursue my coaching certification, I was planning to just coach a few people at a time and continue at my current job. So this is a big departure from “The Plan”. I am experiencing all the essential qualities of adventure; risk-taking, facing the unknown, experiencing something new, and feeling excitement. It feels great to be excited and scared at the same time.

Celebrating The Small Moments

2018 has been a tough year, but I am beginning to realize that there is nothing helpful about looking back on the whole year and labeling it as “tough” or “messy”. Every year has something difficult to it. If I look at life year by year, I’ll give every year a negative label. That is a depressing way to view life.

Instead I am shifting my viewpoint to look at time in much smaller increments. Have I taken the time to notice and appreciate a pleasurable day? Some days I need to break it into even smaller increments. Was there an hour or even five minutes of joy or laughter? Every day has some moments of pleasure or meaning that are worthy of appreciation. Today I am noticing. I plan to pay attention to tomorrow as well. I invite you to do the same.

Life is Messy

It’s not over yet, but 2018 is not turning out quite how I expected. It is a good reminder that life is usually a bit messy.

I thought we would love our RV, but instead it has been a huge amount of work and not enough fun. We have come to the realization that we are not at the right time in our lives to have an RV. The work involved will be worth it when we have the time (ie. Retirement) to take long trips with it. So our fifth wheel is for sale and we will pick that dream up again in retirement.

Our big 50K run did not quite materialize either. My husband got injured in June and I did not want to spend my weekends doing long runs without him. The appeal for me had been the fact that this was something we would do together. I have shifted back to shorter weekend runs while my husband is out on his bike. Again, in a different season of life we may pick this back up again. In the meantime, I’m helping my neighbor get started running and enjoying my three to five mile runs on the local trails. My body is feeling really happy with this level of running for the moment.

I am reminded that it is important in life to be open to what your heart, body and mind are telling you along the way and make adjustments. When you are going to run a marathon, one common piece of advice is to have at least three goals. Plan A might be to finish in your best time ever. Plan B might be a more conservative time goal. Plan C is to finish strong. Plan D to finish at all. Plan E to enjoy the experience of being part of something as big as a marathon. This year has been a year of shifting between Plans, and learning to be OK with it.

Inspiring Podcast

I listen to a lot of podcasts during my commute. Yesterday I listened to a really inspiring one and thought I would share it with you. The podcast is The Sonya Looney Show and this specific episode is with Josh LaJaunie. I first read about Josh in Runner's World magazine. He went through a transformation from being extremely overweight to a vegan ultra-marathoner. I am not going to try to summarize it here. Just go listen to it yourself. Well worth it!

Audacious Goals

I am usually careful about not taking on too much at once. By setting limits and saying no to some things, I have confidence I can achieve my goals and not overstretch myself.

For the year 2018, I set out several goals for myself. One is to buy a fifth wheel and start using it for short trips. The goal is to explore the world of RVing and decide if we want to pursue a full-time RV lifestyle in our next stage of life. We have now purchased our truck and fifth wheel (Arctic Fox 27-5L 2014). We are already learning a great deal even though we only managed to buy our fifth wheel, bring it home, then discover problems and take it back to the shop for repairs. We also realized that we need a gravel driveway in our side yard for the fifth wheel, so we (mostly Hubby) spent more time than we have in years out working in our yard. And I can see that the time investment needed in order to start enjoying our RV is not done. We need to outfit the kitchen, etc. More to come in future blogs, I'm sure.

Another big goal and time investment is to get my coaching certification through New Ventures West in San Francisco. This is a year long program, with quite a bit of time and energy involved. I recently completed my first onsite training session in San Francisco. It was a wonderful experience and I came home with new daily practices, reading to complete and homework assignments. This is definitely going to be a learning experience.

I have goals for my day job as well, of course, with one big project ahead of me that will require shifting our organization towards a new way of doing certain things. It will require me to be creative, tenacious and collaborative. I believe it will stretch me in ways I don't even know yet.

And today I agreed to another goal for the year. My husband and I signed up for a 50K trail race in October. It will be my first 50K. Hubby has done several a few years ago, but has been injured and is starting over now from scratch. This week I ran 15 miles in total, with a long run of 4 miles. In September, we need to run at least one 25 mile training before the big race. We have a big ramp up ahead of us!

Some days I feel a little overwhelmed with all of these big goals. It is outside my comfort zone to take on so much at once, but I feel good about all of them and I don't want to give any of them up. I have amazing support from my husband, great support at work, and a new coaching support system that I'm sure will help me through it. I wanted more adventure in my life and I feel like I am on the path to an adventurous year. Let us see how it unfolds.