Thankful for Breakthrough, Awareness & Flexibility, and Balance Boards

Day 2,270

Growth:

So often it is difficult to see the growth from each rep that gets put in. There are seemingly no gains for quite a while when putting in work towards a long term goal. At some point enough momentum is created and the entire wheel seems to turn almost effortlessly. So easy to see the final pushes and credit them for the success, but more accurate to look at each rep that came before it as equals to the last.

This afternoon I was able to see the breakthrough. Honestly, I was quite surprised! Once I realized what had happened I looked back and saw I had taken so many more reps than I thought, they’d all blended together in my memory until I paused to focus on them.

When working towards a long term goal stay on target with the minor details and menial tasks. Stay focused, stay consistent, and trust the process. The breakthrough will come as a result of all the repetitions.

Appreciation:

My task list for the week is extensive but all with end of the week deadlines. I started on one of the larger projects today and cruised right past the finish line I’d set for myself for the day on it. My thought was to hit a certain point and then move on to the next project. Instead I went with the flow I was in and just kept rolling. Rather than switching gears I was able to keep the momentum going and accelerate through the end of the work day. Tomorrow I’ll head back to the other stuff on my list.

What I’m really thankful for is the awareness to know when I’m in the flow and able to keep rolling AND for working ahead on almost all of the other projects so I have the flexibility to stay on one task longer.

Presence:

I got myself a new office “toy” for my standing desk. My balance board arrived today and I’m already in love! Standing on it and attempting to balance brought me 100% into the present moment as I felt all of my foot, leg, and core muscles working and twitching to keep myself upright. Talk about a great sensation! My right achilles has been bothering my a little lately and the time on the board helped loosen it right up.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Taking a Breath, a Life Changing Moment, and Listening with Presence

Day 2,198

Growth:

What a ride home it was today! While waiting at a red light I was rear ended. I pulled to the side of the road, saw there was damage, and then got back in to pull over in a safer place. While I did that the driver of the other car hit the gas and drove away.

Rather than getting angry I took a deep breath – heeding my advice from yesterday’s blog. I calmly called the police and they were able to get everything rolling. While I sat in the car and awaited further instruction I took another deep breath and started typing this blog.

I would normally have gotten very upset in a situation like this. Having just written about this very topic only yesterday helped me remember that what was done was done, there was no point in wasting emotional energy over it. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! 😉

Appreciation:

Way back in the day a friend really caught my attention by asking a very simple question.

“Are you okay? You don’t seem yourself.”

For ways I’ll keep to myself that question literally altered the direction of my life for the better. I can honestly say the likelihood of my life being the same is almost zero thanks to her moment of focus, concern, and caring. I learned so many valuable lessons in that moment – about myself, life, and others. It was transformative.

The question was simple, the intent heartfelt, the impact profound. I appreciate that question, that moment, and that friend tremendously.

Presence:

Sometimes we must listen with more than our ears. I know, technically you can only “hear” with your ears, but I swear there are other ways to “listen” to other people. Today I’m thankful I paused to really listen and take the appropriate action. I’m also thankful for the moment I described above as that helped me see the right action to take to help.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Pausing, Reflecting, and a Single Maple Tree

Day 2,197

Growth:

The growth moment for today is one which has presented itself in a handful of ways over the past week or two. The lesson has shown up as a very clearly and directly as well as undervocer as a metaphor and as a lived example of why it is important. All around me are these clues and gestures which point to a better way of being.

The lesson? There’ve been a handful of subtle variations but at its core is this…

Count to three, take a deep breath, and then respond. Don’t react immediately, take a moment to pause and think, and then take action.

So wonderfully simple and easy, yet wildly difficult. So much more work to put into my practice of doing this correctly.

Appreciation:

My gratitude today comes as a result of a few different articles in APNews.com recently. I am so blessed, fortunate, and grateful for my life in this country. While I drive with my family to go for a leisurely hike in the bluffs there are so many people living through unspeakable challenges throughout the world. The situation I live in each day is very fortunate and I’m thankful for the life I’m able to live. My heart aches for those in difficult situations, I know I must do better to help others who need it.

Presence:

Hiking in the bluffs always brings about such calm. The smell of the woods mixed with the spectacular vistas could help me lose myself in the beauty of the present in an instant.

What really jumped out to me today was something truly exquisite. While atop the ridge of a bluff we looked over the expanse of the Mississippi River Valley. So many trees, plants, rock formations, backwaters, and so on along the river, beauty ot be found everywhere. Where I lost myself in the present during that time was when my eyes chanced upon a single maple in blazing red standing all alone amongst a sea of green leaves. It was simply stunning.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for Feeling the Positive Results of Training and ANOTHER Bison Sighting

Day 2,022

Last week’s 9 mile training run was brutal. Nothing felt right, it was all off, and it was one of the less pleasant runs I’ve had in a very long time. Regardless, I did it. Today I was able to reap the benefits of it.

Our training run today was on a paved trail in Ankeny, Iowa. After a couple of miles the trail was completely out of town and we were running in between farm fields with only the occasional little bit of brush and some barbed wire fences. The way out we had the winds at our back, on the way in we were running into a 20+ mph headwind. The sun was out and the temperature was in the mid forties, pretty much ideal.

In continuing a weird streak this was the second time when I happened to run past the very much unexpected bison! How wild is that???

One of the best parts of this run was how great I felt before, during, and after the run. Everything clicked throughout the ten miles. Even now I’ve only got a little bit of stiffness in one ankle, the rest of me feels fantastic. If I was pressed to I know I could take off on a 5k right now, very different than last weekend’s ordeal.

I am so grateful for seeing the positive impact of training today. All runs, even especially the difficult ones, strengthen me up for the next. Each longer and longer run beats my body up just enough to break it a little so that it heals itself stronger for the next one. I could 100% feel that positive impact today.

Quick note to my future self who may be reading this sometime later… What a wonderful reminder of how we all grow through difficulty and adversity. True growth occurs during periods of challenge.

Thanks!!!

Thankful for a Perfectly Surreal Winter Running Experience

Day 2,020

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! Rather than stay out and bark at the moon with some cohorts I chose to be in bed before 10pm. This move allowed me to get up and moving a little before 5:30am this morning.

Even though I was out of town for work I still wanted to knock out my Friday morning run, especially knowing that there was a lot of car time in my future. I got up, knocked the rust off my joints, and got ready to head out for my run.

As luck would have it there was what appeared to be a nice little trail only a couple of blocks from my hotel. Off I went into the snow, ice, and stiff wind with my headlamp on and my headphones playing an album from one of my new favorite bands that I’d never listened to before.

Only a couple of days ago my friend James turned me on to The Rural Alberta Advantage and I’ve been working my way through all of their albums. The next one up was Mended with Gold – I’d highly recommend giving it a listen.

The music was beyond perfect for the winter run. I’m struggling to put into words the reasons why it fit so well. The best I can come up with is that it was just perfect. I know, great work in being descriptive Kreiling, right? The sound, the tempo, the lyrics, the emotion in the voice… everything fit the cold, bitter, windy, snowy, and icy run in the pre-dawn lighting. Hmm… the music was raw in almost a primal way, the way the run felt.

As if that wasn’t already enough to create an epic running experience I crested a hill, turned a little corner, and saw this…

Yessir, those are buffalo! Bison Bison if you will. The trail skirted the little zoo and wildlife park in Marshfield, WI. Unbeknownst to me this meant I had an opportunity to get relatively up close and personal with one of my favorite animals. The hairy giants added to the surrealness of the run. It was only the bison and I out and about as there were no roads, houses, or people nearby.

Just before I encountered the bison the song Runners In the Night, a wonderfully perfect soundtrack for that exact moment.

I had to pause and just take it all in. The entire event was so surreal on so many levels. The profoundness of the presence I experienced in that moment is indescribable. It was a perfectly surreal winter running experience. Beautiful in so many levels, my heart still swell with joy as I think about it.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,993 – Thankful for Family Helping Each Other Through Grief

Our boxer, Skywalker, passed away suddenly today after doing her favorite thing, going for a walk with Becky and LuLu (Skywalker’s sister). The loss of one of our family was very much unexpected and rough for everyone in our home. It still feels very surreal and seems to hit each of us at different times.

The boys and I were up at Mom’s when we got the call from Becky. We quickly realized that the right place for us to be at that moment was home with Becky and LuLu. Huge thanks and appreciation to Mom for understanding our need to cut our trip very short. Our ride home was brutal, each of us dealing with the sudden loss. The two hour drive seemed to last three times that long.

Once home we spent time together in the living room snuggling with LuLu and looking through old pictures and videos of Skywalker. From there we all just crashed on the couches and fired up a movie while snuggling with LuLu. Pretty soon I’ll be off to bed.

Tomorrow we’ll start our first day without Sky around sharing her positive energy with us right away in the morning. At least we will continue helping each other through the loss as a family. As difficult as it is to suffer loss, I am so thankful for our ability to help each other through it as a family.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,992 – Thankful for Swapping Two Words to Swap My Attitude and Opportunities to Practice Stillness

Yesterday morning I was on an enlightening webinar featuring Dr. Cindra Kamphoff. While there were many notes taken there was one line which stuck in my brain. “Things don’t happen TO you, they happen FOR you.” Let that one sink in for a moment… “Things don’t happen TO you, they happen FOR you.”

With one little phrase the key to reframing our mindset can be changed. The key is to consider how whatever is happening can be used as an opportunity to learn. In many ways it’s a twist on one of my favorite questions, “What can I learn from this?”

Today I had more than a couple of opportunities to practice this. They presented themselves as mild annoyances. Someone driving 20 mph below the speed limit on the interstate a couple of miles from my exit with a line of over a dozen cars behind it. Someone parking in the second to last spot in the lot and parking about six inches over the line and into the last remaining spot. As I type this I know how lame both of those sound and it’s pretty disappointing to admit I was frustrated by both of those moments. I was stuck in the mindset of thinking about how each of those things had happened TO me.

As I was slowly calming my brain down and working back into a good headspace in yoga I could feel the stress fade away. I focused on my breathing and the stretching and all was good in the world. At the end of our practice we moved into final rest, a few moments of complete quiet and stillness, one of my favorite parts of the practice. Complete stillness…

…until someone coughed. Then a sneeze. Then some heavy breathing. The sound of a water bottle being moved. Someone nearby moving a little to adjust themselves. Distracting sound followed by distracting sound, one after another, after another.

As I lay on my back with my eyes closed and a towel over them I almost started to laugh. I could hear Dad’s voice in my head, “how’s the stillness now Mikey?” as he laughed along with me. Each time there was another noise I could feel my body starting to convulse as I fought back deep belly laughter.

While I was not in a deep state of calm and there was noise all around me I chose the right mindset. This was all happening FOR me. What an opportunity to remember how important it is to choose the right mindset, to choose growth over frustration.

One of my favorite quotes from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations was going through my head as I started to laugh quietly during yoga.

“Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.”

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to practice swapping two words to swap an attitude and opportunities to choose stillness.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,988 – Thankful for Another Gift Within a Gift at Yoga

Another Monday night yoga practice, another moment of profound insight nestled in the deeply calm state of presence.

The two biggest reasons I love hitting yoga are the physical workout as well as the focused presence. Put those two components together and I’m always grateful for taking the time to get all namaste.

While those two are the headliners there’s an awesome added bonus which sometimes appears when my mind is deep in that state of serenity. Occasionally an idea will hatch during the practice. A little nugget of wisdom worth more than one hundred times it’s weight in gold. A magical moment of clarity and understanding which help me understand some better than before.

Tonight that gem was the realization that when learning and attempting something I’ve never done there is no stress about anything else in life. The act of focused and intentional learning create a state in which there is no concern or anxiety about anything outside the task. If I’ve truly set my soul properly there is also no anxiety in what I am learning, there is only the bliss of play. How wild is that? When I find myself stressing or anxious I need only play a little game with myself – what can I learn from this – to transition from anxiety into calm.

That bonus lesson buried within a yoga practice was yet another example of how much can be gained by pausing the busyness of life and intentionally choosing stillness and presence. As Becky pointed out on Friday, the world would be a much better place if everyone paused for a moment to practice yoga. The entire world would quickly become all namaste.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,988 – Thankful for Another Gift Within a Gift at Yoga

Another Monday night yoga practice, another moment of profound insight nestled in the deeply calm state of presence.

The two biggest reasons I love hitting yoga are the physical workout as well as the focused presence. Put those two components together and I’m always grateful for taking the time to get all namaste.

While those two are the headliners there’s an awesome added bonus which sometimes appears when my mind is deep in that state of serenity. Occasionally an idea will hatch during the practice. A little nugget of wisdom worth more than one hundred times it’s weight in gold. A magical moment of clarity and understanding which help me understand some better than before.

Tonight that gem was the realization that when learning and attempting something I’ve never done there is no stress about anything else in life. The act of focused and intentional learning create a state in which there is no concern or anxiety about anything outside the task. If I’ve truly set my soul properly there is also no anxiety in what I am learning, there is only the bliss of play. How wild is that? When I find myself stressing or anxious I need only play a little game with myself – what can I learn from this – to transition from anxiety into calm.

That bonus lesson buried within a yoga practice was yet another example of how much can be gained by pausing the busyness of life and intentionally choosing stillness and presence. As Becky pointed out on Friday, the world would be a much better place if everyone paused for a moment to practice yoga. The entire world would quickly become all namaste.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,985 – Thankful for a Workweek Bookended by Yoga

After getting home from being out of town for work for a handful of days I took Monday off. After our morning run early Monday morning (Becky was working so we stayed with our normal time) I took a little nap and then hit yoga at Root Down for the 8:30am yoga class. After getting home tonight Becky and I loaded up and headed out to Root Down for another awesome yoga session.

Yoga, work, yoga, weekend. Kind of has a nice ring to it! I might have to do this again sometime 🙂

Yoga as a tool to center myself before getting back into the swing of things was exactly what my brain needed. My mind was racing with ideas from the days of training as well as with everything I needed to do in order to catch up. By bending, twisting, sweating, and breathing I was able to calm my neurons down and re-focus on the present moment. A profound state fo chill to create space for me to get to work.

Throughout the week I flew at a crazy pace. The days blew past me quickly as they were each filled with very necessary activity from start to stop. Even with Monday off I cruised well beyond 40 hours worked. My mind was still racing as I questioned whether or not I could wrap up in time for yoga. I knew my brain needed it so I wrapped up with creating my task list which will be waiting for me on Monday early morning when I get back to the office.

Yoga as a path to chilling my crazy busy thought processes was the perfect switch to flip to move me from work mode to weekend mode. It pushed me to wrap up and find the end of the page, put the bookmark in, and then move on to some lighter reading. By bending, twisting, sweating, and breathing I was able to relax, reduce the stress, and focus on moving forward on what I want to accomplish at home. It was exactly what I needed.

Ahh… I’m now showered up, full from an awesome dinner, and wrapping up my day with my blog.

Yoga, work, yoga, weekend. Namaste.

Thanks!!!