The Next Breath Is Always Coming

messages Apr 14, 2010

Before I get into this week's blog entry, I wanted to let you know how Steve In A Speedo has been doing with his food choices since our last podcast as well as what next week's post is going to be about.

Based off his Twitter feed and his blog posts that included statements like "THOUGHT about having a banana after supper tonight, instead had 2 bowls of cereal", "Don't blame me, blame cereal for being so delicious", "I'm so full of meat right now", and photos of greasy pizza slices, he's still having some challenges.

I think it took a lot of balls for Steve to put his food logs out for the entire digital world to see and he caught a lot of crap (granted much of it was justified) from people about how he eats. It got me a little defensive for him in that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones (myself included). None of us eats perfectly.

This has inspired me to keep track of what I eat for a week and post it for two reasons:

  1. One of the most frequent personal questions I get asked is "What do you eat?" (Right after "What's your body fat level?" and "Are they real?" Okay, totally kidding on that last one - I think it's pretty obvious.)
  2. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Be sure to check back next week to see what my food logs consisted of!

Now on to this week's post...

My yoga class was unusually difficult today and I found myself thinking, "I can't do this. It's too uncomfortable and I can't breathe." I immediately reminded myself that "Yes you can breathe - you are breathing - it's just more difficult than usual, and guaranteed the next breath is coming, and then there will be another one after that. If after this next breath you REALLY can't take it, you can come out of position." I took another breath. I was still there, in position. "If after THIS next breath you really can't take it, you can come out of position." After that breath, I was still there. "You can always come out of position, but see if you can last for ONE MORE BREATH." I could and did. Before the next breath, it was time to transition to the next position. Thank god.

I also run, and it's extremely difficult for me. It doesn't come easy AT ALL. I can tell you that in the many years I've been running I've had exactly 2 runs that have felt good. Two. Appropriately, the physical challenge results in a mental challenge as well. I run the same route most of the time and about 3.5 miles into it is where I often hit the wall and want to walk. Here's how the head game goes: "I really want to walk." "Okay, if at the end of this block you really can't take it, you can walk." I get to the end of the block and realize I haven't died and my lungs are still in my chest - not on the sidewalk. "Okay. I'm okay. If at the end of the NEXT block I can't take it anymore, I can walk." I get to the end of the block and think, "What's 1 more block? It's not that far. If I need to walk at the end of the block, I can." This goes on and on for the final mile of my run and I'm here to tell you 99.9% of the time I NEVER WALK THE LAST MILE OF MY RUN.

All I have to do is take the next step or the next breath. The next breath is always coming.

I learn a lot on my yoga mat, my running route and my trapeze rig, and today reminded me just how important my education through exercise is to the rest of my life. Yes, you read that right - my education through exercise. Doing physical things that push me to the edge of my capacity remind me how I need to push myself to the edge of my capacity in other areas of my life. If I'm in intense discomfort - my muscles are burning like a mofo, I feel like I can't breathe or I don't think I can go any faster or longer - and I make it through it, I know I can make it through anything, whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

We can easily get overwhelmed by the discomfort and stress in our lives and give up. Things sometimes seem too big, too uncomfortable, or too frightening. They can be, when we look at them as a completed whole instead of the smaller discreet actions we can take. I don't have to run the 4.5 miles all at once, and as a matter of fact, I can't. I can only run it one step at a time, one block at a time. I can't do 60 minutes of yoga practice. I can only do yoga one breath at a time. I can't complete all my long-term business goals tomorrow, but I can get one more thing off my to-do list today.

What's the one thing I can do right now? What's the one thing I can control right now?

...And this is how I live my life. Trying to push myself in all things to the point where I feel like I can't breathe or it's too uncomfortable, confident in the fact that I know the next breath is always coming.

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