Friday, April 30, 2010

The Not-So-Constant Gardener

"Easy to do, easy not to do." 

This is a new mantra I was recently introduced to by the Slight Edge audiobook.  I'm sure I'll be mentioning that one here and there - its got some awesome nuggets in it.  (And it took less than a week to listen to in my car during my relatively short commute!) The general premise is that what separates successful people from people who are not successful is that, among other things, that the successful people make positive small decisions all day long that trend them in an upward direction.  Small things - going for a 20 minute walk instead of sitting on the couch, taking the time to read a little every day instead of watching TV, etc.  Things that are easy to do, but also easy not to do. (Get it?!)

So I've been thinking about that.  Take, for example, my garden.  I've tried to be a gardener for years. I want to be like those relaxed looking, happy women in the soil pulling perfect tomatoes and herbs from their gardens and serving them to friends on gorgeous platters they crafted themselves (I even kind of want the big straw hat).  The desire is there, and yet this doesn't happen.  My tomatoes look great arriving to my house as seedlings, and then they struggle and wilt and struggle some more until finally, with a nearly audible sigh, they fade away.  And I just recently figured out why.  I DON'T TAKE CARE OF MY PLANTS.  Yes, it took nearly 37 years and a college degree to figure this one out. But hey - at least I did eventually!  This year I've been spending 3 to 5 minutes a day out there, just seeing if they need water and making sure they're doing ok.  And they are awesome!  How brilliant am I to have figured out that all they needed was some water and attention!  Brilliant indeed. 

That "conceptual leap"  (as appropriately labeled by Erika - or rather, her mom) has made me wonder where else I can apply this little mantra.  Last night after work I did some stuff around the house and then made dinner.  There were only a few dishes, and I was tired.  I was about to leave them in the sink when I paused - "Easy to do, easy not to do!"  I have a dishwasher people - I mean, this was REALLY easy.  So I did it.  ;-) 

I'm not solving world hunger here.  But I consciously found myself acknowledging a decision, making the better choice, and moving on . How very liberating.  And more importantly, when I got up this morning my sink was clean. And some days, it really IS the little things that matter. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I want to be a Cowgirl

So - what do you want to be when you grow up? I'm not being snarky here, I promise.  I really want to know. Because that question HAUNTS me. 

My whole life I've been so jealous of people who had, from where I sat, clear talent.  To me, if you had a god-given talent, you had a clear path in front of you.  My sister (hi Chris!) was artistic from birth.  Paintings she did at 4-years-old are still better than the ones I do today.  And she went to art school and became this kick-ass, amazing fashion designer.  She's REALLY good at what she does, and from what I can tell, seems to like it (maybe not the hours, but the work she seems to love).  My brother was totally brainy and smart, and excelled at school, going on to Harvard Business School and starting his own business.  Me - well, I was just kind of ok at a lot of stuff and didn't really gravitate in any particular direction.  Except maybe towards anything weird that my parents would worry insanely about.  Archaeology.  Peace Corps.  Living out of my car while driving aimlessly about the US.  (Yeah, I wore patchouli.  What's it to you?)

So now I'm an Account Manager at a social media company.  Ummm...great?  No, no, I should be fair.  There are a lot of elements of my job that I really like and that play to my talents, and I do work for an awesome company with fantastic people.  Now, is this job I have been at for years my dream?  Do I wake up excited to get to work?  Maybe not, but I'm here and its stable and its a good job and I'm reasonably happy and I can pay the bills and have health insurance......

This is the part where you call me out. ;-) 

So what do I want to do? I like to spend time with friends.  Write.  Swim.  Garden.  Eat. Travel.  Be healthy.  I guess when I say I don't know what I want, that's a little wrong.  I mean, I'd love to make a career as a writer.  But not writing for the sake of it.  I was a freelance writer for years and churned out boring stuff for other people - but it certainly didn't excite me.  And in fact, made me do less of my own writing as a result. The writing I want to do? Novels, stuff like this blog....who knows what else. But certainly that's not a realistic career path to pursue!  You can't do that for a LIVING!

Or can I?

I look at people like my good friend Elizabeth, who granted has an amazing, clear talent that she's been able to make into a career.  But its not something that she hasn't worked her ass off for either.  Heck, the lady has been touring with an infant for the past year!  She's amazing!  Then there's Martha, who has made a career out of metalwork since college.  From working with other jewelers to working for blacksmiths to learn other aspects of metal, and now having her own studio - wow.  And my friend Alex is completely passionate about design and usability and social media and not only does it for a day job, but also spends all his free time coordinating and attending events, blogging, keeping up on the industry - and yet he still finds time to kick back for beer and amazing meals with his lovely wife.

So first off - sorry for calling you guys out on the fly.  But you AMAZE me and inspire me. So you'll have to deal with it.  Maybe my talents aren't as clear as my sister's are, or as clear as any of these folks.  But maybe I also haven't spent a ton of time figuring out what my talents and my passions are and where they intersect.  Don't get me wrong - I've spent lots of time complaining about not having clear talents.  But I'm not sure I've actually really stopped to try and figure out what I am best at and enjoy the most, and explore what I can actually make happen with those things.  So this blog is one step forward.  And I'm taking a writing seminar geared at finishing my book.  I planted veggies.

Game on.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Turning the Tables on Twiggy

So go with me on this one - you're grocery shopping, trying to make smart choices.  You're feeling good, and you get in line to pay.  As you wait you glance up and are smacked in the face by images of Angelina, Tori....all the celebs.  Skinny clothes show sick thin arms and legs, rarely a curve to be seen.  They're sitting right next to diet magazines.  And you're there in your size (ahems) and start feeling crappy.  You try to look the other way, and what's there?  CHOCOLATE.  Cruel, isn't it? (I think its funny that this is nearly the same scenario even in a Whole Foods, its just pictures of super thin yogis next to DARK chocolate.)

Body image just sucks.  Flat out.  And the irony is that there are extremely few women I know who aren't bothered by it.  I know thin women who think they are too thin.  Healthy women who think they're fat.  Thin women who think they're fat. UGH. We are assaulted with the idea that we're supposed to look like the women in magazines, movies, on TV.  I don't know about you, but I "gave up" trying to do it.  I still didn't feel good about me.  I was just resigned to that fact that 1,000 calories a day wasn't going to happen. 

So what's different now?  Perspective, people!  Its amazing how you can mess with your own head - in a good way!  I am by NO means over this issue - I might never be.  But check this out:  (are you ready?) I have BANNED myself from reading celeb rags.  Its true. (I think I just heard my cousin Meredith faint.) These were my staple plane items, got me through pregnancy when the pregnancy dumbs made it impossible for me to read a whole, real book.  They were my guilty pleasures, my brain candy.  But you know what - they really annoy the heck out of me now.  And I think the reason is this.  Since I started Crossfit (jeez, I'm starting to sound like I'm in a cult.  "Put down the kool-aid, m'aam!") the main images of women in my face all the time look like this:

I seriously get to see these women all the time - sometimes every day.  (They're actually REAL - amazing, eh?)  So now I see those magazine images and think - where's the muscle??  They could be snapped like a twig!  I have no desire to mimic those images.  I have TONS of desire to mimic these ones. ;-) 

So I'm turning the tables on Hollywood (I'm sure they really care).  As Jessica E says - "IN YOUR FACE!"  It may have taken me until my late thirties, but I'm taking back my body image.  Yahoooo!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You Scare Me

So here's the secret about me - I'm terrified of everything.  Like, I can pretty much guarantee that I was intimidated as hell the first time I met you.  For real.  Not because of anything you did, but just because I thought you were awesome and I wasn't.  I can promise you that the first day I walked into Crossfit (and for 2 months thereafter at least) I was terrified of the people who were WAY more fit than me, of the moves (what the heck is a 'hang clean'?), and that I wouldn't be able to do it or keep the commitment I made to myself to get into a steady workout routine.  Heck, I'm scared right now that when my mom reads this she'll be upset if I curse in public (sorry mom - hi!).  And I'm scared doing my writing and putting it out there, because people might hate it or think I'm a big loser.  But here's the thing - as I get older (and wiser?) I'm figuring out that EVERYONE is scared!  Wow, is that ever comforting. 

This past weekend I was scheduled for a camping trip with a group of awesome women I didn't know very well. All are ladies I've met through the Crossfit Central affiliate where I work out, which means they're strong (physically and mentally), do lots of cool other things in their lives, and a few of them knew each other pretty well.  I was really excited, but here's the thing:  Friday night I honestly thought about maybe not going because I was so intimidated by the group and worried about what they might think of me.  Surely I didn't fit in with THEM.

REALLY??!!!   Really?  What is that about?  I mean, here's this great awesome thing I'm about to do, and my reaction is to consider walking (nay, running) the other way? Clearly, I'm certifiable.

So back to my weekend, which was amazing.  At one point the group was sitting around and the subject of fear came up.  Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change....the list goes on.  And as I got to know people better, I had several conversations with women who were nervous about coming too, or about sharing something personal, or whatever.  So we were all feeling totally the same, thinking everyone else felt confident and secure.  But we are all real people, who get scared and nervous and intimidated!  Heck, some might even worry about what I think! (Ridiculous!).  It sounds stupid, but I was amazed watching ladies who I thought were perfect Crossfitters and who had perfect Paleo diets eat smores - SMORES, people!  Did I think they never, ever cheated like I did?  (Yes, I did think that.)  By the end of the weekend I was totally, totally comfortable with everyone and couldn't believe I had been so intimidated. Its kind of exhausting to think of the amount of energy I have wasted in this life worrying about what other people think of me.  But I'm learning. 

My point?  I thought about my good friend who once told me in relation to his career:  "If I'm not scared sh*tless everyday I go in, I know I've stopped growing and that its time to change something up."  Wow.  How awesome is that? Scary is not only OK, its good, it's something to seek out. So even though the scary is tiring and hard and takes extra effort, I'm choosing it because I want to keep growing.  So thanks people, for helping me along.  ;-)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kicking it off

Well, I've done it. I'm officially a blogger. Take me or leave me - but blog I will! I gotta say its tough picking a title. I'm not sure right now how easy (or not) it is to change that later. So I sat and debated on what to do. Something deep? Something clever? Something funny? I would type one in, delete it out, type another get the idea. Finally I just went for it. Welcome to "Finding my Pitch". To lend some clarity to the rest of you, here's the story around the title. At the moment I'm reading an awesome book by Lynn Grabhorn called "Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting" that talks about the Law of Attraction and how the literal vibration you send out to the world will dictate what you get back. Happy thoughts (satisfaction, joy, love, etc.) vibrate on a high frequency and bummer thoughts (anxiety, stress, anger, etc.) vibrate on a low frequency. And what you are putting out, consciously or not, is what you get back. You put out negative vibes and you'll run out of gas, stub your toe and burn your finger on the same morning. Her visual on this is a stadium full of people holding tuning forks. If you sound yours, the only ones that will automatically sound back are those that are on the same pitch. What vibrates out is what comes back. So here I am, trying to find my pitch. Thanks for joining me. I hope you enjoy the ride.